By Sadie Gribbon
Half of Millennials, 49.8 percent, would give up their right to vote for two terms in return for eradicating their student debt. Yes, their right to vote.
According to a recent survey by the student loan site credible staggering results that exemplified what Millennials value: technology and socializing. No shocker there.
But what is slightly terrifying is that Millennials would rather lose eight years of voting rights than one year of texting privileges. 87 percent of Millennials said they would not give up a year of texting for the same clean slate.
So why don’t Millennials value the power of their vote? According to a USAToday poll, only 20 percent of Millennials sway toward the conservative side. With a nearly retrogressive president, Millennials don’t feel like their voice is relevant in a political sense.
In their minds, their vote doesn’t matter. They are wrong. A generation that learns through tapping on glass screens to get a response and riots in the streets for their rights, fails to see how much they matter in the realm of simply casting their ballot.
Demographics from Pew Research finds that the Millennial population size has surpassed Baby Boomer’s, who tend to be more conservative.Millennials have the most voting power, yet they failed to flex it in the previous election. Only about half of Millennials voted in the 2016 election according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
Only 8 percent of Millennials would rather pay off their debts and keep their voting rights and texting privileges, amongst other survey questions like never using a ride-sharing app again.
What does this say about our country when the next generation to hold the fate of the America in their hands would rather lose their voice in the world around them to extinguish the fire of debt they are burning in?
Even more important, why should students have to suffer such debt? Instead of trading off voting rights for free college, why wouldn’t we ask ourselves how to use our political capital to change the education system which puts Millennial students in such debt?
There are more Millennials receiving degrees than any generation before. But the generations ahead of them are still suffering from student loan debt. A third of people over age 40 are still paying off debt and almost 2 million adults over 60 are still paying off their debt from college.
Instead of giving up our rights, Millennials should put them to good use to reform the policies put in place to make college more affordable for generations to come.
States like Tennessee, Rhode Island and Oregon are already offering free community college as well as larger city-centers like San Francisco and New York which offer free community college options given students meet a minimum GPA.
By using their massive political power, Millennials can vote to create a nation that pushes for more access to education and lower tuition and fees for all. That way, the metaphorical question of giving up their right to vote – or god forbid their right to text – no longer lingers.