I’ll admit it: I love politics. I’m a graduate student here studying it, too. Lately, however, the national political scene has left me drained. According to Pew, congressional approval is now at 21 percent. The government is heading for another possible shutdown. And it’s the same tired scene. I find myself caring less and less about Congress and its endless bickering. But, do not despair. It’s almost OUR turn to govern. With Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, millennials are growing in power. Millenials are generally considered those born in the 1980s and 2000s. By 2020, according to the Center for American Progress, we will constitute a voting block of 40 percent of eligibile voters. And it can’t come soon enough.
The governing generation is childish. They are idealogues, not interested in solutions. It baffles us that adults can’t gather in a room and work out a compromise. Perhaps the most poignant example of this was during the sequester negotiations. Both parties refused to work out an agreement. This led to across-the-board spending cuts. Republicans and Democrats alike were left dissatisfied at the haphazardness of the entire process. This is the kind of dangerous policymaking the United States currently faces. There’s no direction to policymaking anymore, just patchwork solutions.
It’s a cliché to say that one must heed the lessons of history, but it’s necessary in the current climate. I hope we’ve learned one lesson from our parents’ generation. That is, idealism without practicality is dangerous. That we can’t all have it all.
We Millennials are interested in solutions. We’re open minded. We care what others have to say. And we’re interested in governing. Pew’s research indicates that Millennials are pro government action. When asked whether the government should do more to solve problems, 53 percent of Millenials agreed, compared with 43 percent of Baby Boomers. When asked if government is inefficient and wasteful, only 42 percent of Millenials agreed. Two-thirds of Baby Boomers agreed that it was wasteful.
We also have shed party affiliation. Millennials consider themselves independent (38 percent), followed by democratic (37 percent) and republican (22 percent). What does this all mean?
This means that our generation will have the necessary qualities to break the deadlock in Congress. There seems to be a consensus for government action among Millennials that does not exist in older generations. Based on this, Millennials will not be bothered to debate the raison d’être of government, but instead how to solve the nation’s problems. Furthermore, our age group has shed party affiliation, and opted for the independent label. This will bring the bickering to a halt. It’s hard to insult the ideology of an independent voter.
Over the next decade, a government renaissance will occur. It’s up to us to end political theater and to usher in an age of reason and common sense. So get ready, because the change is coming sooner than we think. I hope we can bring back civility to American public life. Surely we’ll be more mature than these fear-mongering, my-way-or-no-way group in Washington.
BY MICHAEL SCOTT firstname.lastname@example.org