In a nation full of corrupt leadership and dirty politics, where one hesitates to look at the news out of fear for seeing a new disaster, it’s hard not to have a bleak outlook on the future of the United States. After all, power has consistently stayed in the hands of rich white men who don’t care about, nor represent, the people of this nation–and it’s only gotten worse in recent decades.
However, there is hope for us. An emerging subset of young, female world leaders is paving the way for a new generation of progressive and diverse leadership that represents the interests of their people.
At the present moment, white Americans are overrepresented in our national government, making up only 61 percent of the U.S. population compared to the 78 percent they hold in Congress. And America is only getting more diverse with every passing year–according to U.S. Census Bureau projections, more than half of Americans will be nonwhite by 2050. Not to mention that America has never had a female president, despite women making up 51 percent of the population. Few seem to consider how drastically underrepresented women are in our government, which is especially concerning considering that women are much more likely than men to identify as Democrats, meaning our underrepresentation indirectly tips the balance of power between parties.
While some may think that diversity doesn’t matter, and that ideologies are what count, the fact of the matter is that modern Republicanism tends to correlate with being a white, Christian man. This blatant lack of diversity in our leadership has caused our country to stagnate, falling behind the quality of education, medical care and life, in general, of other, happier countries like New Zealand, Finland, Iceland and Denmark.
The common denominator between these countries, all four of which rank in the top 10 happiest countries in the world, is their prime ministers. All have female prime ministers under the age of 45 and run on the social-democratic platforms that our generation so vehemently believes in. More importantly, though, is that they have all been successful in implementing the policies that so many Americans call unattainable and naive, propelling their nations to be some of the most envied in the world.
What these world leaders– prime ministers Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland, Sanna Marin of Finland and Mette Frederiksen of Denmark–have done is created a precedent for the successful implementation of the so-called “radical” left policies. Finland aims to be carbon-neutral by 2035, New Zealand gives 26 weeks of paid leave to new mothers, Denmark has high-quality universal health care and Iceland has very strict gun safety laws–including mental health testing and rigorous training–while maintaining a 28 percent gun ownership level, similar to America’s 30 percent.
All of these nation’s policies and leaders stand as proof that it’s possible for a country’s leader to follow a left-wing path to success, maintaining a happier nation. Given this precedent, it isn’t unthinkable that America could be similarly successful should we elect more Democrats to our government. After all, our overwhelmingly left-leaning generation is soon to reach voting age; maybe then we’ll be able to turn a progressive new leaf for American politics.