For those who find their party without government representation following the presidential election: do not take this as a sign of failure, or a beginning to the end. The current president-elect will be in office for a guaranteed four years, but the rest all depends on how you apply yourself in future elections.
The election has been over for a week now, and the data concerning the votes behind the votes is telling as to the future of the country. According to the New York Times, voters aged 18 to 29 were not represented by their states. A majority, 55 percent of the demographic, voted for Democratic leaders, while older generations voted otherwise. This shows that change is on its way, but it needs active voting members to actually make a difference.
Those who did not receive the outcome they desired should not use that as an excuse to recoil from the political world. Instead, it should be a motivational force, a push towards activism. Some may feel that the best course of action is to protest. Acts of solidarity do have a place in the political world, but they tend to stir media attention more than turn the tide in governmental policies. Additionally, protests have the stigma of inciting violence. This is not always true, as was seen at Baylor in the peaceful protest held on Fountain Mall last weekand the walk with Natasha — a Baylor student who was a victim of racially motivated harrassment — but there are other ways to make a difference.
In order to gain representation, change needs to happen from the ground up. Become more affiliated with those in your local government. This can include volunteering for political groups that align with your personal views or speaking out to those around you. Even if this only means knowing the policies of those who are currently in power or are hoping to be elected and their standing in upcoming elections, it is important to build those connections.
Elections come more often than some people may think. Those who are currently 65 and older have had the opportunity to be a part of 11 presidential elections, in addition to local and state elections. Making the trip home for general elections can seem tedious for those who live farther away, but when it is possible, the trip is worth the vote. An increase in young voters can change the balance in populations that have a traditionally older crowd. More specifically, elections in 2018 will possibly sway the House of Representatives.
This upcoming election has the power to change legislation. The president has the power to veto or sign a bill into law, but he cannot push a bill without having the House in his corner. It is possible for him to still make changes that do not match what the general public is rooting for, but it is much more difficult than without the support of the House.
Change is near but does not come easily. As said by Ira Chaleff, founder of Followership Learning Community of the International Leadership Association, “In the face of leadership flaws, too many people assume cynical perspectives, rather than do the hard work of building relationships in which they can have more positive influence.”