Most days it feels like the deck is stacked against young people – rising rents and evictions, a worsening climate crisis, deportation and denial of citizenship of loved ones, and insurmountable student debt. And as young people try to survive in a system they have neglected for decades, President Joe Biden and the Democratic leadership are giving Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia coal baron who has benefited from the poisoning of our communities and from racist, undemocratic Senate rules, after — all at the expense of youth and our future. The time for bold, progressive change is now, and if the Democrats don’t deliver, the young people in 2022 and 2024 will vote for new leaders who will.
When we mobilized young people to the polls last year, we gave the Democrats everything they needed: a government majority and a popular mandate. We risked our lives knocking on doors during a pandemic. We agitated, organized, and convinced our communities, which were skeptical about being repeatedly abandoned by the Democratic Party, to vote for Biden and the Democrats across the country. Young people trusted the Democrats to really get things done. But less than a year after his presidency, Biden and the Democrats in Congress are failing to keep their election promises over filibuster Jim Crow, an unelected MP, and corporate Democrats like Joe Manchin.
This reconciliation package, the Build Back Better Plan, symbolizes more than the legislative achievement of the Democratic Party. A reconciliation package that includes a path to citizenship and bold investment in communities on the forefront of the climate crisis symbolizes that the Democratic Party genuinely cares about our communities and our future. Futures in which we do not have to fear that our loved ones will be taken away from us by a brutal deportation force in the middle of the night. Futures in which we don’t have to flee our homes due to deadly storms or other natural disasters. Futures in which we don’t have to put up with it day in and day out, but can thrive and prosper.
Last November’s election should be a warning to Democrats in office: Young people will not mobilize for politicians who maintain a broken status quo. Instead, they will mobilize for brave leaders who are not afraid to challenge institutional power structures to bring about real, material change. The Democrats cannot ignore our demands in office and then ask us for our votes on election day. We are not a bottomless source of support that can be siphoned off every two to four years for votes.
The urgency of the present cannot be underestimated: the shrinking window of a full democratic majority, the code red of climate scientists around the world, a seemingly endless pandemic, and the increase in deportations and incarcerations Reports of inhumane conditions in detention centers across the country. It is for this reason that our generations feel the urgency to fight for the changes we need to ensure a future in which we can all live and thrive. From protests to Bird huntingUntil the hunger strike, we mobilize and agitate because the stakes for our generation and future generations could not be higher.
The legislative choices that Democrats are making in the coming weeks will shake our generations. However, the results of these decisions will determine whether we are electroplated Per or against You. Will Biden cares for the interests of Joe Manchin, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, and other corporate Democrats who refuse to listen to their voters and obstruct his popular agenda, the very ones that young people have fought against starved after? Or will he stand up for young and marginalized communities and fight for an agenda that saves lives?
To be clear, no one will remember who Joe Manchin is or what the Senate processes are, but they will remember that the Democrats were in power when the student loan payments resumed that aid to working people Families were hired and the party failed to pass robust laws that would benefit millions of people.
Democrats cannot deny the influence of young people on elections, grassroots building and advocacy. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer must put the bill to the vote, and if it fails to pass the Senate when the Democrats cannot deliver, President Biden must take immediate executive action that will change the moment of crisis we find ourselves in Acting justly, they will face a young, powerful electoral bloc mobilizing for politicians who fight for them.
It is time for President Biden and the Democrats to play hard in their caucus and deliver for the young people who took a chance on them.