Where are the Millennials?

The Friction Between Forging Ahead and Waiting Your Turn

The path to success in DC has traditionally come in only one way. The bright-eyed intern starts at the bottom and works his way up the ladder. He pays his dues, and when the time is right, he can have “his turn.” Some people ask where all the millennials are in politics. Do they not care about politics? Why aren’t they involved? Take a quick visit to any DC office and you will immediately find out – they are working a full time internship, unpaid, paying their dues. In Washington this system goes largely uncontested, but there is a rising tension. What if you’re a millennial wanting to make a difference now?

Ethan White is one such millennial. He is running for the District 29 seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives. His campaign is a simple one: forward thinking. Ethan has much more time left in his life to live with his decisions than his competitors. He is devoted to investing in the future, and he believes the path to getting millennials out of the current system of “paying their dues” is encouraging them to take on real responsibility. The obstacle that many are finding difficult to overcome, however, is a system that requires years of job experience but wants the innovation of the young. “We are the generation that were told all our lives ‘you can be what you want to be,’ but when we got old enough we’re told we can’t,” Ethan pointed out in a recent interview. We were told we have to wait.

Ethan is a millennial who is taking a stab at the system established in DC. Reactions to his campaign have been very positive with voters and not-so-positive among the establishment in Tennessee. This resonates with the way things are on the Hill during the general election. Voters are obviously wanting a huge change in the current system, and the current system is highly unwilling to change.

To millennials who may be struggling in DC, Ethan has a simple message: you do you. You know what you want to accomplish. Keep your head up and stop listening to all the negativity. Keep your eyes focused on your goal, and go accomplish it. Millennials have great vision and great ideas and great goals. You just have to constantly remind yourself that, while it may be difficult, it’s not impossible. Ethan encourages millennials who may want to run for office one day to run a positive campaign. Be a real statesmen – a mature and respectful candidate.

Whether you believe millennials should wait their turn for responsibility, or if you believe they should be making a difference now, Ethan’s message is one we should all adopt for ourselves. Get up, dust the dirt off, and get to work. “Liberty is one generation away from begin extinct.” Don’t let it be your generation.

Jonathan Creasy