Zach Wendling

Dear readers,

As we approach one of the most contentious elections to date, with a little more than one month until Nov. 3, there is no reason young constituents should be ignored.

I, like many of my college peers, will be voting in my first major election — what better time to vote and voice my concerns — yet I feel as though our congressional representatives ignore us when they make many of their decisions.

For the past 19 years of my life, I did not get a say, but now I do. The elections in those years shaped the education and society that I endured, so I must now shape the society that I want to live in moving forward.

This election, we will vote for every member of the House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate and, of course, the president. But now, following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18, we may vote for the fate of the Supreme Court through our presidential pick.

Ginsburg left behind a legacy as the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court and one of the most outspoken liberal justices, famous for her dissents on major cases. She fought for equality at all times and carried a fire for change within her.

I admired her willingness to speak up and be a beacon of hope for younger generations. Her friendship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative, extended beyond ideological divides and served as a model for many.

I have always viewed the Supreme Court as one of the most influential branches of government after so much partisan gridlock in our government. The court has been responsible for landmark decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Bush v. Gore, Obergefell v. Hodges and many more; decisions that have had monumental impacts nationwide.

Ginsburg’s death might allow conservatives to further cement their ideological majority on the court if Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill Ginsburg’s seat, is confirmed by the Senate. 

But not once have I heard a congressional representative mention how this appointment could impact younger generations; those who will have to endure potential decisions for decades before they could be overturned.

I cannot recall a single representative considering the lasting implications of an appointment such as this one on younger people. Instead, we sit back behind red and blue camps as if only one can win, rather than negotiating or working together on how the nation can be the best it can be for everyone.

Younger generations will endure the impact of these decisions longer than those of most representatives currently in Congress. Those of us who have never voted, those of us who did not elect this current Congress, are forced to merely sit back and watch.

Nearly five decades separate the average college student from many of our representatives, yet they determine how we live our lives every day. Though we have faced drastically different worlds, they determine the trajectory of our nation.

This election should strike a fire within each of us to get involved, be informed and vote. This is as much our country as it is our parents’ and grandparents’ and that of our elected officials.

We can create the world we want to live in, but if representatives will only listen to us through election results, then we must get out and vote.

Vote for the ideals we must fight for and vote for the future we wish to have.

Vote and show we will not be ignored. There’s too much at risk.

Zach Wendling is a COVID editor for The Daily Nebraskan. Reach him at zachwendling@dailynebraskan.com