There are always complaints that our generation needs to focus on the 'things that matter', such as current affairs or getting a job, instead of the latest pop song or film. However all too often it feels as though when we do try and embrace the world of politics, we get dismissed as being too young to understand what's going on. As if once we reach a certain age we are magically granted all there is to know about politics. Is it any wonder when young girls and boys try and tweet about political parties, and get laughed at, that they'd rather focus on music or films?
I got interested in politics during the height of the Scottish Independence Referendum, and at seventeen years of age, I certainly attracted my fair share of comments about how I was too young, and should just focus on something else. As though I shouldn't get to have a say or take an interest in my country's future, and what independence or remaining in the union would mean for me.
On the one hand, I would see comments and Facebook posts about how our generation was simply ignoring what was going on, jeering and goading at us for tweeting about films, rather than the latest breaking news. Then on the other, there were so many comments about how we were pretending to be politicians, or how we were too young.
Sometimes I wish this magical political void that the older generation wished to see us in was real, that I would have cotton wool wrapped around my eyes and be oblivious to the horrors of the world. I often felt that perhaps I would have been better focusing on bands I liked, rather than reading the news about the latest terrorist attack or political scandal. When I was younger and heard about deaths on the news I would be horrified, deeply impacted at the idea that someone out there wasn't alive anymore for whatever reason. Now it feels like every day I wake up to news of terrorism, political coups and gang warfare. There's a horrible mix of numbness, uselessness, and heartbreak now when I see the news.
It's heartbreaking to feel as if this is it, this is the world I'm going to live in and nothing is going to change. It just feels like we're being hurtled towards a stop passing by horrific after horrific tragedy, like all of society is on a hellish coaster ride with no way to get off. Being nineteen I now feel as if I'm in some sort of limbo, I'm too old to be oblivious to it all, but I'm too young and inexperienced to actually be able to make a difference. All I know to do is to try and raise awareness, engage in online debate or share the latest news story.
People often chide us for sitting tweeting about politics rather than going out there and do something, but what do they want us to do? We protest, and they accuse us of being undemocratic. We engage in debates with politicians, and we are accused of attacking them. If we were to run a political campaign, how many of you out there would take one look at our age and scoff before even reading our policies?Sure, perhaps we're only raising awareness, and that '#jesuischarlie' tweet isn't going to bring anyone back but how many times have we heard that knowledge is power?
By educating ourselves more on politics, and society itself we can stand together against these injustices. We will find a way, and maybe the idea of a revolution starting because of a couple of tweets might seem hilarious to you, but why couldn't it happen? Without Twitter, I would be a lot less clued up on politics, as it is seeing those political tweets that got me interested in campaigning in the Scottish Independence Referendum. It's opened up a whole new world to me where I want to work in political journalism, or perhaps even join a political party and become an MP.
It's time the older generation embraced social media, embraced the political passion of our generation because truth is the world has changed a lot in these last few decades. If you truly feel as though our age locks us out of being politically interested because we're somehow not intelligent enough, then what are you doing to educate us? Are you sharing political articles, and correcting us when we produce an inaccurate statistic? Or are you simply there to scoff and shoot us down, because our differences in opinion are somehow a reflection on intelligence?
The age of those getting interested and involved in politics is getting younger,fiery fourteen-year-olds desperate for a vote and campaigning tirelessly for a better government. Perhaps it's always been this way, and due to the rise of social media we've simply found a way to share our voice. It's time we stopped with these double standards, and ageist remarks and instead embrace those who show an interest or a passion in something. Don't mock us for remaining quiet, when you also mock us for having a voice.