Remembering Tupac today on the anniversary of his death, it’s also worth reminding ourselves of his message one that went beyond his music, and also flowed into other works including an often overlooked book of poetry that he wrote at 19 years old ‘The Rose That Grew From Concrete‘
When no one even cared
The rose it grew from concrete
Keepin all these dreams
Provin nature’s laws wrong
It learned how to walk without havin feet
It came from concrete
Young people have become a generation left out in the cold with no real ‘security’ whatsoever to count on – today in Britain you’re also likely to hear a lot of talk in the media about threats to your perceived security – so ask yourself what security do you actually have to look forward to tomorrow?
There’s been a campaign to bring the voting age in England and Wales lower to 16 – it’s an important debate because this change would actually shift the importance given to young people today and ensure their voices are heard and their votes are counted. A Peer was recently quoted on the issue of voting age saying, “At 16 you can consent to medical treatment, join a trade union, pay tax, consent to sexual relationships, change a name by deed poll, join the armed forces, be a company director and get married with parental consent.” But at 16 you can’t vote.
In Britain today, you’re only eligible to vote once you turn 18 – but let’s ask have 18 year olds even been exercising their right to participate? Contrary to some media reporting, there actually wasn’t any significant increase in the youth turnout in the last UK election – 18-24s only made up about half of the actual number of voters who turned out aged 65 and over (43% vs 78%).
In the 2015 U.K election those aged 65+, were the highest to turnout and vote, making up one in four.
Political apathy among young and disenfranchised people has been counted on to secure the interests of the comfortably rich, big corporations and city banks for long enough – as long as young people remain on the fringes and out of the political process – the big bosses get to stay cosy and warm – and you’re stuck out in the cold.
Well maybe it’s time to break it down and really ask yourself what kind of security are you actually looking forward to if you don’t get involved?
If you’re 13 today – by 2020 you’ll be 18 and able to vote – have you thought about what kind of future is waiting for you? Have you wondered whether 15 minutes of ‘YouTube’, ‘Vine’ or ‘Twitter’ fame will actually last a lifetime? What happens when you’re 30 – will all those 1000’s of ‘followers’ you amass even care what you have to say by then?
If you’re 18 today and considering a future at university what happens after you graduate and at 22 when you’re ready to vote in 2020 will you be stressed about your debt? Will you still be without a paid job or will you be an unpaid intern or doing a ‘low-paid’ apprenticeship?
If you’re 22 today, in 5 years time when you’re 27, will you be at a point where you could consider your options to become a ‘first time buyer’ like the 20 something’s did back in the 90’s? Do you think buying a house in 5 years time will be realistic or require the hand of a privileged background.
If you’re in your 30’s today, in 5 years time you might start to think about having a family – what kind of salary will you need to be on – what if wages still haven’t risen much? Will you already have an affordable home or be a single parent or a couple working hard to fish out for childcare, living expenses, rent or a mortgage? How high will living costs be by 2020.
If you’re in your 40’s today and your children are between 13 or 18 year’s old – in 5 years time are they still going to be living at home with you? Have you got a house large enough to keep housing your grown family under one roof? Are you going to be ready and able to fish out amount of money to contribute to your kid’s university fee’s or a deposit for a private rented property at sky high rents? More importantly are you even still going to be able to count on the job you’re in yourself or will you be getting by on zero hour contracts?
Maybe you’re in your 50’s and your children are between 18 – 25 years old – are you going to have enough money saved in 5 years time to help your child pay a deposit for a house which in London alone today now averages £488,782 and in England and Wales now average £183,861. Let’s say an average salary of a 18-25 year old is around £25,000 today – well reality is they need to be making at least £100,000 to afford a home in London today – know anyone in their mid-20’s making that much?
We must all exercise our right to participate and be part of the debate. Decisions made today and in 2020 affect each and every one of us in Britain. The movement to exercise our rights needs to start with a ground swell from the bottom right to the top.
Your lives only matter when you make them count your vote.
Tupac at 17 years old talked about responsibility to be socially aware, politics and lack of respect for young people – he planted the seeds of the early Hip-Hop generation and is still an inspiration for todays generation.