Today’s reason to vote in November is simple: we are no longer teenagers and it is no longer cool to not care. This election is important and, when you’re a mature, reasonable, intelligent person, it’s cool to care about important things. Teenagers are great at pulling off a practiced “whatever” attitude. Adults with that demeanor are just called selfish jerks.
As a kid, I couldn’t figure out what exactly made someone a nerd or a geek. I knew the label was attached to people who liked unpopular things a little too intensely and little too publicly. I knew it meant you weren’t invited to all the weekend parties. I knew I was one. You guys have all read about my status on the teen board of our local library. There’s no denying my lifetime membership to the nerd-tribe. As an adult, I realized the word is attached to people who dive into something deeply, who love something unabashedly. I also realized that most of those other kids also liked something strange in the same way but were too afraid to let everyone know. Or maybe they didn’t. Some people are just basic. But most of them probably cared about something and were just scared to show it—stifled by that span of our lives during which it was just not cool to care.
Well, those years are over for us. I get the mental fatigue that comes from all these political ads, the debates that seemed to never debate anything, and the articles that repeat the same critiques over and over again. It’s tiring. But we’ve got to hang in there. As teenagers, we faced tedium with a sigh and a turned head. As adults, we’re gonna have to face these moments with the excitement of fulfilling our grown-up responsibilities and making history. You know, just the slow grind toward equality and growth.