After election day 2016, I witnessed a large number of millennials react with sadness, shock, and anger. The results of a Donald Trump presidency was not easy for a lot of young people to take. Fortunately, that sorrow was soon replaced by action. I was inspired to watch and march alongside my peers as we exercised our democratic right to let our disdain be heard. The youth’s participation in the Women’s Marches across the country and the People’s Climate March in April were truly inspirational.
However, in recent months, there has been an eerie silence from millennials. This is especially surprising as we find ourselves in the midst of a Presidency that is compromising our American democracy. So, I can’t help but wonder, where did the millennials go?
While investigations are still underway, the evidence is damning. Donald Trump’s campaign clearly had contact with Russian officials, perhaps with the purpose of interfering with our election. We’re talking about an adversarial, foreign, totalitarian oligarchy, having it’s hand inside the inner workings of the office of the President of the United States of America. It’s hard to think of another time where an intrusion of this magnitude has been put on the electoral process of our country.
These prospects are beyond alarming. Yet, it’s oddly quiet on the millennial front. Where are my peers? Why are we not trying our best to utilize the tools at our disposal to enact change? This could be our chance to stop a regime that may damage on our generation. Now is the time to to take action if we want to save our country from a presidency that may be compromising the very freedoms that are so precious to the fabric of our society.
Social unrest and protest were used to combat the abuses of power and the lack of freedoms and equalities in our country in the 60s and 70s. But you obviously don’t have to turn back the clock 50 years to see a strong movement of the people. Just look to the past few weeks in Poland, where thousands of Poles took to the streets to protest the Polish government’s authoritarian overhaul of their judiciary. With their freedoms compromised, the Polish people hit the streets relentlessly for eight days, until the President finally vetoed two out of three of the controversial pieces of legislation.
Why aren’t the young people in this country taking similar action? The Trump administration has cornered itself, yet without a tangible, widespread movement, Trump’s authoritarian disposition may start to have real influence on policy. As millennials, we need to start thinking about what will define our generation. What will be our legacy? These question are essential, and if we don’t act decisively, we will most certainly end up with a legacy of Trump. We must demand the future we want for ourselves and our own children.
Sam Lichtman is a graduate student in Boston, MA.