The State of the Union has been a time-honored tradition since George Washington first gave this address to Congress in 1790. While Article II Section 3 of the Constitution mandates that the President inform Congress about the current state of America – be that socially, politically, or economically – he/she isn’t required to do so in person and have it broadcasted via cable news networks to millions of Americans.

During his time as President, Thomas Jefferson felt as though personally delivering this address in front of the entire congressional assembly too closely resembled the monarchical style of governance practiced in Great Britain and made the decision to deliver the State of the Union address in the form of a letter to Congress. It took Woodrow Wilson to break from this practice in 1913 whereupon he unofficially reinstated the more traditional State of the Union address in front of Congress, transforming it into a platform upon which to advocate for a particular political agenda.

The American people have come to expect this State of the Union address and its recent hiatus has given what many believe to be an ominous look into our nation’s true state of the union: dysfunction, hyper-partisanship, and an unwillingness for the three branches of government to put the American people first. I can say with great confidence that no matter where we fall on the political spectrum, members of Generation Z are collectively disenfranchised with the pace and unprofessionalism displayed by Congress and the President these past few years. We know we can do better and are willing to work towards a better America as future leaders of the nation. So here are a few of OUR takes on the state of our union:

My fellow Americans,

I speak to you today as a young woman, a child of immigrants, and a soon-to-be voter, the situation of millions across our nation. The State of the Union, our America, is at a critical turning point. For the past decades, our parents have watched politicians and congresspeople become their own representatives, yielding to the wealthy and the discreetly powerful that support them and then write their positions in the dead of night. With our generation, that ends. We call upon our congresspeople to be the voices of their constituents. To push for change and progress, not regression. To push for compassion, not restriction. To our congresspeople, we are your special interests.

– Alexandra Madaras

My Fellow Americans,

I address you as a Nevadan, a soon to be voter, and a young woman with a great concern for the future of our country which I so deeply love. Our nation is at a crossroad, faced with the decision between regression and progression. A choice between financial gains for the rich and powerful or the people’s prosperity through unity coming from the preponderance of the American people. With our most recent election demonstrating the largest voter turnouts by young people in midterms, we must teach this new generation that they deserve to have their voices be heard by the people in power, not manipulated by them.

The decades of watching politicians speak for the rich powerful, acting as puppets on strings to them, is over. The American people want more from our Congresspeople. In a true democracy, the power must lie with the people; unfortunately, our elite have stripped the power from the people. It’s time to stand up and make sure the American people are heard through the silencers of money.  It’s time to remind our Congress that the American people should be their only special interest.

Issues such as abortion, immigration, and gun laws have polarized our nation. Family members have disowned each other over titles, or opinions. As Abraham Lincoln said long ago, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” This still holds true. Our country was founded by immigrants who wanted the ability to think freely and to have representation inform their government that affects their daily lives. This was the idea our founding fathers created for us, hoping the sentiment of “by the people and for the people” would benefit all the generations to come. Let us work to remind our politicians of this and put the true power back in the hands of the people.

– Chloe Wiley

Head over to our Instagram or Facebook to check out videos of alternative States of the Union from Next Gen Politics members.  The state of the rising generation of youth civic leaders is strong!