Progressive Media Project Ashley Lynn Priore
A few months ago, I wrote an op-ed for The Progressive magazine on why President Joe Biden needs to build a bridge with young Americans. The nationally circulated article drew hundreds of responses from strangers who agreed with my sentiments. But I didn’t hear anything from the one place that mattered most: the White House.
So I wrote a Playbook on Youth Engagement in the White House and sent it to the staff at Biden. They encouraged me to keep in touch; there was no substantive conversation.
Young Americans like me shouldn’t feel like kids in the grocery store putting candy in the cart and being told by our elected officials, “Put this back. Our bold policy proposals are not too idealistic, short-sighted or naive. They are necessary. We are fighting for a sustainable future on a planet filled with emissions, for economic fairness and a break from systemic racism. We claim basic human rights.
President Joe Biden has promised us that he will be a president for all. Am I and the rest of the country’s 42 million young people included?
The Democratic National Commission website states that “Democrats will promote youth rights and nurture young leaders.” Where exactly are these young leaders?
People also read …
As of April 2020, the Democratic Party had two main presidential candidates: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, 79, and former Vice President Joe Biden, 78. Four years earlier, Sanders, then 75, had faced establishment Democrat Hillary Clinton. , then 69.
For two consecutive presidential elections, millennials and Generation Z have had to choose candidates who are old enough to be their grandparents. The young people were looking for … what is the term? Oh yes, “new blood”.
Sanders, it’s true, is beloved by many young progressives. They felt like a prominent Democratic candidate was finally speaking up on the issues that matter to them, including student debt, the Green New Deal, and higher education. But in 2020, the nod went to Biden, and young people were told, “Hey, at least he’s not Trump.”
The DNC convention didn’t help. Former Ohio Governor John Kasich may have urged moderate Republicans to side with Democrats, but he has not turned young people on. Why not invite Rep. Sharice Davids, the first Democrat elected to represent a congressional district of Kansas in a decade? She was only 40 at the time.
Don’t tell me my president and his team can’t answer everyone and my ‘want’ is just one thing on a billion to-do list. Asking to set up and lead an Office of Young Americans is not too much to ask. Young people are ready to do the job.
And how about creating positions that strengthen the voice and power of young people?
There are no youth engagement staff housed in Biden’s public engagement office who is under 25, as many groups have requested. Hiring a director of youth engagement and youth liaison officers within each ministry could help build relationships between young people and their government. The key to connecting with young people is to create safe spaces for conversations about the issues that affect them most.
The House and Senate can create youth councils within their potential offices to build stronger bonds between young voters and staff.
A real commitment from young people. This is what young people want. I am not saying that I expect the age to stand for election to be lowered. I’m not saying we can’t have older politicians. I’m saying we need to do a better job on inclusiveness because democracy is for everyone.
Ashley Lynn Priore of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the founder of Youth Political Strategies.