Reason has a somewhat concise breakdown of Millennial Politics, and how they differ from Baby Boomers. Some of it is rather spot on, but a lot of it just doesn’t really take into account that millennials are simply awful about having political opinions.
It’s not that they awful from an intellectual or ideological standpoint, it’s that they have no idea how to apply them, and rightfully so. You don’t hear about twenty-something representatives or senators, because government is still pretty much for the political elite, men and women over forty and fifty who have been in the game for the last thirty or more years. They’re almost all Baby Boomers, who rose their ranks during the most malleable years following World War II, where the country was rebuilding physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The lack of a major war in almost eighty years, apart from isolated conflicts, has allowed our country to expand and prosper, but also become fat and complacent. We believe more in equalizing humanity now, and fostering some kind of utopian future, yet we can’t put down the gun or bomb, or cease conflicts with neighbors and foes. We’re still engaged in the Middle East, starring coldly across the table with Iran and North Korea, and maintaining fragile partnerships with China, Russia, and Israel. These are all things many Millennials don’t even know about, because they’re too busy posting equality signs on Facebook to remind everyone they support gay marriage.
The cold truth, at least in my opinion, is that Baby Boomers resist broad changes to FDR-era social services because it would undercut themselves and spread it to millions of younger, less-affluent Americans. Things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veteran’s benefits, directly benefit these people as they retire. With so many of them, compared to younger generations, and medical science extending their lifespans beyond those of their parents and great-grandparents, they’re placing a larger burden on the system than what it was intended to serve. Just read the news any time someone, Republican or Democrat, threatens to cut spending on a social service. If they’re not talking about poor people in the cities, they’re talking about the elderly, disabled, and combat veterans. Meanwhile, combat veterans from our current conflicts, mostly Millennials and older, suffer from PTSD, disabilities, and other combat-related issues. They’re supposed to get benefits for this, but even those can sometimes be completely negated for little reason, leaving them high-and-dry. Yet Baby Boomers and their smug predecessors, the “Greatest Generation” coax our generation into these conflicts under guises of patriotism and defending freedom, when they’re nothing more than manufactured wars of convenience by governments and business interests looking to control regions of the world not unlike old colonial rule and land grabs of the naval military days.
Baby Boomers probably think that they’re just another generation working off the last, but the situation continues to get worse and worse as they continue to push our economy and policy further into a point of no return. We’re trillions of dollars in debt spent bailing out companies that should have been allowed to fall, like General Motors, and supporting bloated and unwieldy unions that operate like thug-style mafias than organizations with workers’ protection in mind. Our business ethics have shifted to where companies will do whatever it takes to profit as much as possible while lowering the bottom line for the average worker. Companies hire foreigners on visas in order to dodge taxes and pay them less. Companies move to other countries to take advantage of lower taxes and environmental regulations. Democrats and their greedy tax-laden fingers have destroyed a number of great cities and states trying to throw money at whomever will catch it off the backs of anyone making a paycheck. Republicans support greedy companies and executives by allowing them to find loopholes and dodge taxes, along with preventing meaningful reform or regulations that would foster more competition and growth in the free market. All of this is done to serve their own bottom line, a culture of elitist lawmakers, making their living off of kickbacks, bribes, handouts, and services rendered. They pay-to-play, and evade judicial action or public scrutiny thanks to having media in their pocket, parroting their empty words.
Yes, the reason Millennials are awful with politics is because they are either unwilling or unable to play the political game. They want to stand on principles of human advancement, equality, and unity, but the predominately-older population wants none of that shit. If you’re not serving their interests, you’re to get lost. In many respects, it’s for this reason I feel bad about President Obama, because being on the tail-end of that generation, he was our generation’s hope for someone who could begin to bridge the two political worlds, and possibly open government up to advance to some of today’s standards. That was mine, and many people’s hope when we voted for him in 2008, and he let us down by revealing that he instead aligns himself with the Boomers’ interests, among his own interests. A President, even being one that belongs to one party or the other, should always run the office from the center, because it’s Congress that makes the laws for him to sign. Unfortunately, Obama was not pleased by the fact that Congress was poised to pretty much lame-duck his entire eight years in office by not passing anything critical, due to party politics and a general indifference to his presidency. It’s in that respect that I don’t blame him completely for much of the country’s problems during the economic recovery, because lawmakers don’t give a shit, they get paid when the American people do not. But his decision to try to gain control of the process and do things himself upsets me a lot. It shows his disrespect for our government and the way it was designed by our forefathers, and shows his ignorance in crafting law in the first place, something he wasn’t really that great at as a senator anyway.
2016 will be an important year for Millennials, because once again, we will have to choose between the two parties’ potential Boomer candidates, or hope that a younger, more in-touch with today’s values person, like Chris Christie or Marco Rubio, run, and win. I honestly believe that the government that Millennials crave will not truly happen until Boomers are out and either retired, or dead. I know that sounds cold, but this is how history rolls, we see paradigm shifts in government and policy when the next generation steps in, and I think once our generation steps in, you will see a shift in policy that starts to leverage the advanced technology we use today, and how that could drive government agencies and social services tomorrow. So for all you kids with expensive college degrees, don’t lose faith. We will get our chance to change the world. It just won’t be as flashy and dramatic as your wet dreams will allow for.