In this country, we peacefully overthrow and rebuild the government every four years. However, this turn, even the peaceful option feels violent and vengeful for people like me–and that’s a wonderful thing.
Let me explain:
Saturday, October 24 at 11:15 a.m., I and thousands of others stared at the tip of the iceberg of the U.S. government and started swinging an icepick. We may have only been filling out bubbles on a ballot, but we did it with a message that does–and should–scare Republicans:
We said, “You took away our youth, and for that, you are going to pay.”
And, as of right now, Democrats are expected to win the Senate, House, and Presidency. If this happens, we’ll regain a little bit of what we’ve lost.
People like me have lost a lot of things. Of course, we can’t go to concerts, have spring break vacations, or even do something as simple as getting together over a beer–but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
A lot of us can’t do those things because of COVID-19 restrictions, but we also can’t do those things because we’re broke. Student loans, rent and mortgage rates, job insecurity, and high healthcare prices cripple us and will continue to cripple us–and it’s not the leaders right now who are fixing it.
The iceberg goes even deeper.
The bliss of thinking we can be a good person and have an easy life if we just do our job and follow orders is now gone, and we went to the ballot box with that in mind.
We’ve got two choices: stay where we are in a country we know is wrong and unequal–or fix it. Swing that icepick.
I swung my icepick for many issues. I swung it for the right to choose what to do with my body. I swung for coronavirus aide. I swung to avenge Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
But all of that was for me. Those are things that people can argue with me about (they’ll lose, but that’s not the point).
The most important swings we took were on behalf of other people. It’s something that young people–no matter their political affiliation–should swing for.
The first swing was for people older than me and younger: Parents and children.
So–I definitely lost time with my parents and grandparents during this pandemic. Almost everyone did. All I needed to do to reach them was to call, but it was still hard. Of course, I always knew where they were. I always knew they were safe.
Anyone who missed their parents and grandparents or going to parties or even going to school over the last few months needs to be aware of these numbers:
70,000. As of today, over 70,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border.
400. These are how many detention centers there are along the U.S.-Mexican border.
Seven of these children have died. More adults have died, too.
4,556 of these children said they were sexually assaulted in 2019.
These children don’t have the ability to call their parents. They don’t know where their parents are and in no way are they safe.
The U.S. didn’t just take their youth away like it took ours away. They harmed them in ways they might never overcome.
0. It’s the number of these people that can vote to make their own lives better.
People like me are young people that lost their youth to either a pandemic or the knowledge that we are complicit in a system that harms younger children in ways they might never overcome–or both.
Now we know that being a good person means sacrificing our comfort to dismantling and destroying something wrong.
How appropriate the key agency in question is called ICE.
We need to use our icepicks to get rid of policies that hurt innocent people. There’s no excuse. It won’t just take this election, but countless elections where people who care vote the right way.
People like me shouldn’t just swing in the ballot box, but with every action they take. This election was the first act of overthrowing the government, and it can’t be the last.
Here are some other numbers that people like me need to know:
46,735. It’s the number of people who were denied asylum in the US. That’s 69% of all asylum seekers.
15,000. The estimated number of immigration attorneys in the U.S.
20,000. The estimated number of those employed by ICE.
And here are some figures that our government needs to know.
132,684 students are in law school, according to the American Bar Association.
51. The percent of Gen Z people who want to vote for Joe Biden, according to a Politico poll.
25. The percent of Gen Z people who want to vote for Donald Trump.
If Republicans manage to win the election, they’re not going to rest easy. We’re not children, anymore. And we’re coming for them.