This year’s election is perhaps the most important election of my life. Not because of any specific race taking place, but because it is the first one that I will participate in. As a young voter, I have the potential to change the course of history as I raise my voice with my peers. Revolutions were brought about when young people showed up to the polls, from FDR’s New Deal to Reagan’s neoconservative movement.

Older Americans represent the status quo. Elected officials don’t need to adapt and solve new problems because their careers are perpetuated by the status quo. Why change their strategies and solve new problems if their voter bloc is content with the way things are? Stagnation is the result.

Young people are different. We see a very different future with different challenges and hazards. We see the effects of income inequality, of rampant climate change and runaway healthcare costs. We see politicians bickering over the issues of the past while neglecting our future. But why should they listen if we don’t speak up?

Imagine if we had a wave of young voters this year. There are enough millennials and Generation Zers to make a substantial difference in election outcomes. Politicians from all sides of the political spectrum will suddenly have to shift their focus to maintain their power. If they don’t start paying attention to the issues important to the rising generations, they will start losing elections. Politicians will be forced to seek practical solutions to the issues important to the new generations or risk losing power.

In order to disrupt the stagnation that is Washington, see real solutions from all levels of government, and provide a brighter future for all Americans, young people need to vote. Our combined voices will change the course of history.

Broderik S. Craig, Provo