I read all three essays: the 25-year-old who wrote an open letter to her CEO, prompting a 29-year-old to write an open letter to snake people* like that 25-year-old, and the 36-year-old responding to the 29-year-old’s response to that 25-year-old.
Well, friends, I stepped across the threshold of the big 4-5 earlier this year, and reading all three of these essays made me think.
Even though I know that technically, a lot is a piece of property, or an item/bundle of items in an auction, or something you might draw as a selection tool, like drawing straws, but not an adverb. Because, hey, art history major here! One who graduated when we were still putting two spaces after periods!
I’ve come to an important conclusion that I would like to share with all of you, the 36-year-olds, the 29-year-olds, and the 25-year-olds, and all of your friends.
I pretty much don’t care.
You know what I mean. I’m tired, and I don’t have time to go around writing open letters all day. Although, given what I read on the Facebooks, I probably could.
I mean, I care, in the sense that I want everyone to be appreciated, even loved, and housed, clothed, fed, educated, and cared for when sick. I just don’t care in the sense that I know you don’t care what I think, and in the sense that I don’t think I have any veto power over or right to critique your life choices.
Except one life choice, and that is this:
Do you vote?
You damn well better vote.
I hope you will vote for candidates who support, or are likely to support, a living wage.
I remind you to vote non-presidential races, which happen each and every year, not just presidential election years, because elected officials in Congress, in your state legislature, and even on your town council could be the people whose vote on a living wage affects your ability to earn one.
Government can’t solve every problem, but refusing to be part of creating a better government certainly increases the likelihood that government won’t even make a half-assed effort to pitch in.
All of you, you who are 25, 29, and even 36, are part of the largest group of people eligible to vote. Your cohort has more voting power than baby boomers right now.
More voting power than baby boomers.
And if there’s one thing that I think we can all agree on, it’s that we’ve been letting the boomers drive this train unsupervised for long enough.
Make sure your friends do the same.
Spend a little bit of time learning which politicians will advocate for the things that will make all our lives easier, regardless of how many of us have asinine bosses, or no bosses at all.
Politicians who will keep tweaking health care so that we move steadily away from subsidizing multi-million dollar insurance company CEO salaries and towards a single-payer healthcare system that truly makes healthcare accessible and affordable for all people.
Politicians who will champion a living wage, and find a way to put their support into action via legislation.
Politicians who will look at the long game when it comes to climate change and balance the immediate needs of business with the long-range needs of our planet and future generations.
Politicians who will work for systemic change of major institutions so that public education, housing, and so many other areas of our life are not tainted and stacked against some people simply because of the color of their skin, or the zip code they were born in.
Or, you know, vote for a politician who believes in whatever you believe, even if you still haven’t gotten past your Ayn Rand stage. There are more of us than there are of you.
Have compassion. Think about the common good. Think about what’s good for you. Strike a reasonable balance.
If you do all that, I don’t care what bourbon you buy, what family relationships you work to get a job, or how well you can point out logical flaws in other people’s open letters.
Just vote, and I won’t say anything about you other than hey, fellow citizen of this great democracy, thanks, and here’s to all of us working things out and making things better for everyone.
*I have that Chrome** browser extension that replaces all instances of m i l l e n n i a l with snake person, and I have to say, it really improves your whole internetting experience. Recommend! A+++!
** Yeah, I use Chrome most of the time. I know I should be covering my digital tracks better, doing something with Tors or a Tor or whatever, but I’m Gen X. I pretty much assume all of my secrets have been laid bare, so whatever, I’m just not dealing.