The voter turnout percentage on May 19 might replicate my age – 23.
I make this disappointing prediction in full sincerity given that four years ago, the city’s total was 21 percent.
Philadelphia boasts that it is the birthplace of America’s independence and many of its current primary candidates spotlight the Liberty Bell as a symbol of it. But they should appeal more to the Fountain of Youth that is lacking in their campaigns – the Millennials.
Yes, as much of a fuss there has been about our effectiveness (and lack thereof) in the media, this election cycle only showed how we are not factored into the future stakes City Hall holds.
And please, for the love of God journalists, stop acting as if we are seriously voting for Doug Oliver because he is the youngest mayoral candidate running. To your surprise, ageism isn’t something we project as much as you would like to assume. We can still listen to Ariana Grande and appreciate the genius that was Whitney Houston.
That being said, local candidates and the media have spent more time talking about us rather than including us.
Where have we been, you ask? Some of us are studying, others working, and a small few of us interning for said candidates. I might argue that the latter are going to be the noble few who will definitely vote in this race while the rest will stay home unbothered.
I was a former City Council Fellow, so I will vote. And yes, for Anthony Williams for mayor, because he is the only one I have had a direct positive exchange with during my time in the city.
But said personal endorsement aside, this doesn’t ignore the fact that my vote is based more on familiarity than the core belief that the proposals and platforms raised are actually putting me in mind.
As graduation season comes in full swing, many of my fellow peers will be looking for jobs and affordable housing just as I did last year. My Penn degree helped alleviate some of the struggle, but I cannot ignore the harsh reality of those who don’t have this privilege.
Thousands of young adults are about to enter a more competitive environment that said candidates didn’t have to face during their upbringing. If you think that boasting how gay-friendly you are or pushing for marijuana decriminalization is enough to get our votes, guess again.
A predominantly Democrat city should guarantee such progress, not just leverage it as campaign bait to appeal to groups that you are out of touch with (side-eye at you, Jim Kenney).
If anything, Millennials want local candidates to stop trying to be “cool” with us and just “keep it 100.”
So enough with the over-the-top social issues banter, the corny rap music (never again, Ori Feibush). We want no more appeals that escape the fact that we want jobs and an affordable sense of security in a city that we are helping to rapidly grow.
If we are the future, start treating us as such…or you will continue to lose our votes.