MILES TO GO: YOUNG VOTERS CAN INSTALL CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE

Dear Gen Z and Millennials, 

You are the future of this country. And given your sheer numbers these days, you have the power to lead this country, or at least decide who will lead it, no matter what the senior citizens in Congress say. 

Our U.S. Congress is obsolete, incompatible with today’s operating system and useless to most of its users, meaning you, us, the voters. Perhaps it’s time to install an update, or several. 

That’s where you come in. 

We’ve just wrapped up a Florida primary, are preparing for the November general election and then a 2024 presidential race. Your country needs you. All of you, the younger voters. And thankfully, there’s a ton of you. 

In 2020, for the first time, Millennials and Gen Z (young adults born in 1981 or later) equaled the number of Baby Boomers and older generations in terms of eligible American voters, according to a study from the nonpartisan States of Change project. 

By 2024, you will be the largest voting bloc in this country. That’s power, my young friends. Use it wisely. Wield it responsibly. Elect leaders. Reject lunatics — on both sides. Demand compromise. Ignore the extremes. Meet in the middle. 

Your new majority is not good news for our elderly politicians. But my hope for this nation and its democracy lies not with them, but with you, the younger generation, the Daniel Hoggs and others.

This isn’t a Republican / Democrat thing. It’s an American thing, a democratic thing. I don’t care one bit which party you like, join or despise. 

But at some point, I have to believe, you’ll stop letting your grandparents and people even older run your country, spend your money, write your laws, pick your priorities and legislate your sex lives. 

Your country and your lives are being run, in many cases, by people who can’t even manage their own Facebook and Twitter accounts, so forget Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and podcasts.

The majority of today’s voters have never known life without smartphones, social media, synthetic drugs, Snapchat, streaming services, YouTube sensations, online influencers, Instagram filters, cyberbullying, friends with two moms — and school shootings.

But a troubling number of our legislators dialed rotary phones, listened to radio shows and still write checks at the grocery store.

Baby Boomers — those aged 60 to 75 — are no longer the majority. (Just don’t tell them.) And yet they’re still in charge. 

Today’s national politicians don’t represent today’s America. In fact, many would say they don’t represent anyone but themselves and the political party they believe will get them re-elected.

Politicians are running the version of this country that they remember because it’s the only one they know. But that version is dangerously out of date and rife with viruses. 

When was the last time anyone in the House or Senate looked for, or lived in, an apartment they could afford? When was the last time anyone in Congress was uninsured? How many of them have shopped for an insurance policy on the healthcare marketplace — and PAID for it? We’re the ones paying for their Cadillac of health insurance plans, the ones we don’t even click on because we could never afford them.

How many of them know enough to worry about our woefully nonexistent cyber laws? Does anyone recall how thoroughly Congress embarrassed themselves years ago when “questioning” Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook. Their ignorance was obvious and appalling. 

They shouldn’t be in charge of this country any more than my 75-year-old parents. Don’t get me wrong, Dad’s not to the point of trying to answer the TV remote, or entering his bank PIN on the microwave control, but even he agrees he should NOT have access to any nuclear codes.

How can a 78-year-old senator possibly represent a 24-year-old? They can’t, they don’t and they shouldn’t. So, please, pay attention, get involved and above all, VOTE.

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.