When I walked into the Quicken Loans Arena for the Republican National Convention (RNC), held in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18-21, I identified as a Republican, but now I’m not so sure.
I felt positive about my affiliation with the party and assumed everyone there identified as Republicans as well, even millennials.
A few hours after the Patriotic Nationality Ambassadors led the pledge of allegiance on the second day of the RNC, I met two millennial ambassadors, Nicholas Craciun from Romania and Mark Drozd from Ukraine.
Even though they chose to attend a Republican event, neither endorsed the party’s platform.
“I think the Republican Party relates to me more as a Ukrainian rather than as a millennial,” said Drozd.
He said while the party supports his country’s army, he feels the party alienates those based on ethnicity, a prime example being what he called Trump’s “Anti-Mexico” wall.
Drozd struck a theme found in many millennials in that he hopes solutions are found, but “not by one party’s idea.”
Millennials hate both parties blaming the other for the nation’s problems.
Millennials hate the popularity contest of the presidential elections.
Millennials hate corrupt party politics. The people represent the party rather than the party representing the people.
Millennials want an open discussion on opposing policies, but the parties won’t listen to each other.
Millennials want transparency, but the parties focus their efforts on attacking the other party rather than openly clarifying their own views.
Millennials want change, but the parties have their own personal agenda to fulfill.
However, the parties have discovered the power of the millennial voice.
“It seems like social media is where they are trying to focus because that’s where we are,” said Erin Batyko, a student from Kent State University.
Batyko said millennials don’t care for the critical messages parties are sending, so millennials have started their own digging.
“Social media is a great start,” said Maggie Wachtel, another student from Kent State University. She also suggested researching and following reporters and journalists.
Social media is the weapon to fight back against the onslaught of corrupt party politics.
Facebook, in particular, allows individuals to share their views and opinions about current issues.
The Purple Tent is an organization with a mission to bring civility into the media, schools, workplace and politics, according to purpletent.us.
The organization hosted a panel discussion outside of downtown Cleveland. Katie Harbath, the global politics and government outreach director at Facebook, joined a panel with other political and communication professionals to discuss millennials involvement in politics and role of social media.
According to Harbath, since January 1, 2016, 89 million Facebook users in the U.S. have had 2.9 billion interactions — likes, comments, posts and shares.
It’s no surprise with that number of users and interactions, Harbath considered Facebook “the new town hall.”
Unfortunately, corrupt politics has crept its way into social media where opposing viewpoints result in a digital fist fight.
Many agree with millennials that the current method of discussion isn’t working, but it looks like millennials are the ones speaking out against it.
I believe millennials can lead a change in politics through social media.
I believe millennials can stop the Republican and Democrat Parties’ blame game.
I believe millennials can create a new culture of politics to unite rather than divide.
The United States needs to be just that — united. Millennials know the country is anything but united. It’s only through open discussion that unity can be made possible.
Because of the RNC, I don’t identify as a Republican. Doing so somehow classifies me as someone against Democrats or vice versa.
Voting for a party has taken the place of voting for a president.
As a country, we need to unite, because right now we are two parties under God, not one nation.