This past month, Britain has “Brexited” the European Union and families across England have been torn apart.
I witnessed it myself, and I live about one continent and the Atlantic Ocean away from them. The glaringly obvious generational split of opinion is both concerning and frustrating.
For those who don’t know, Brexit is the combination of the words Britain and Exit. There was a referendum on June 23rd to decide if Britain were to remain or leave the European Union. 52% of the population voted to leave, with a majority of over 17 million. Were I old enough to vote, I would’ve voted remain. According to a YouGov poll four days before the vote, this is in line with around 70% of 18-24 year olds. However, Britain has voted out and that is that, democracy has spoken. This article is not about crying over spilt milk.
This article is, however, about the frustration that comes with your voice not being heard. The Brexit vote is one that will take around 10 to 15 years to come into effect, as leaving a union as big as the EU is not an overnight process. In those 15 years, around 30% of the people who voted leave will likely be dead.
That’s right; 1 in 3 people who voted Leave may never see the consequences come to light.
This may seem like a harsh observation, but it is one that is absolutely necessary.
In elections and votes around the world, youth’s voices are being muffled by the older generations. This is a problem that youth need to solve. We need to make sure that we pay attention to our local and global politics. We need to make sure that we hold politicians to their promises. And most of all, we need to vote. Opinium, a UK based strategic insight agency, found that 64% of people ages 18-24 voted in the referendum. This is a relatively high number of youths, but not nearly as high as the 90% turnout of people 65 and older. These statistics may be hard to swallow for the people who did vote, or people who are too young to. It’s easy for people under the voting age to feel like they can have no effect on politics. This is not true.
We owe to our future selves to not be apathetic when it comes to politics.