I was a toddler during the Reagan presidency, a child when Bush, Sr. took office, and a teenager and young adult under Clinton and Bush, Jr. By the time Obama took office I was transitioning from being an undergraduate to a law student, and have spent my young professional life under his Presidency. I am a millennial. That word used to describe the generation born between 1982 and 2000, and sometimes used as an epithet by our elders.
I am socially progressive by default, but read Ayn Rand in college and thought Ron Paul had some good ideas. I was ideologically mixed for most of my teenage years and early adulthood, abhorring war, craving liberty, fearing climate change, and struggling daily to pay student loans and make my way in an economy that lacks human purpose.
I am a millennial in early adulthood, hoping the world outlives me, and trying to make it a place I want to live if it does. I grew up under Reagan, the Bushes, Clinton and Obama, but this election cycle is defining who I am and wish to be. In stark relief I see two political parties I once thought not different enough to matter, battling for the soul of our country. I see a Republican party that denies science, reason, and human dignity, and worships at the alter of money; and a Democratic party that is not perfect, but is willing to face reality on climate change, respects human dignity and human rights, and wishes to restore human purpose to an economy that reduces us to human chattel.
The Republicans terrify me, and the Democrats have convinced me they are worth my time, money, and vote. I am one voice amongst many, but my story is not uncommon. The Republicans have lost my generation, but the Democrats are earning our respect.