As America’s political divide has widened, with middle-aged eyes mostly reporting on the apparent abyss, new research suggests that the generational biases in those eyes may have arrived at erroneous conclusions.
Research data from the Washington think tank, NDM reveals that the majority of Americans, 55-percent and particularly, Millennials, born 1982-2003, 58-percent, want a more active and involved government rather than one that is not involved in shaping American culture and most of all, an economic framework that is more fair than the current arrangement.
Millennials appear poised to be less tied to political ideologies than baby boomers. Millennials are the most civic-minded generation since the GI generation (born 1901-1924); Millennials are more apt to volunteer their time to the community good than any other previous generation.
Perhaps as older Americans could see the gathering storm, they helped to shape the millennial generation into a generation that may have the same impact as the GI generation. Like the GI generation, Millennials want to strengthen American institutions by using government to improve basic conditions in the environment, education, health care and the economy.
Millennials were not directly influenced by the New Deal, which lifted America out its worst economic depression, or generous GI Bill benefits that the American middle class was built on.
As evidenced by the many protesters in the “occupy” movement, many of them Millennials, will not cede the power of change to government without their consent and involvement. Because they are the most socially connected generation in history, those human and personal connections may far outweigh any political affiliation.
The current American congress is also preparing the most fertile ground for change in American history by doing almost nothing. In 2011, the U.S. Congress had their most futile and unproductive year in modern history passing 80 fewer bills than any other congress in modern American history since 1947. A Washington Time’s analysis revealed that time spent in both the house and senate produced fewer conference reports, fewer votes taken in either chamber and less time in debate.
In spite of issues critical to the American people such as health care, reducing unemployment, and addressing our sagging national economy, congress focused on a parallel set of priorities. They spent long hours naming post offices, ruminated over procedural protocols and largely extending existing laws.
The political inertia that has our country stalled will make it possible for Millennials to put our national focus where it rightly belongs. Talk to almost any Millennial and the first thing they will tell you is that they are very concerned about the environment. I believe that they will take this important priority in a direction that may well revolutionize America. Though others have already made energy independence a national priority, Germany has set a goal of majority independence from fossil fuels by 2050 and is in the process of closing all nuclear plants in the county after the tragedy in Japan. I believe America can still lead the world out of oil dependence and into millions of new energy focused jobs for Americans.
I am hoping that Millennials will no longer accept an America that rewards 1-percent of its people with most of its riches. Some of the worst offenders may have to have to drag their bags of gold and go away.
Millennials will help to recreate an America where everyone can prosper based on their initiative and ability. I have a lot of faith in the Millennial Generation. They will make America a better country, not because they are necessarily smarter, have more money or more technology available to them but because they care so much about their families, their friends, the environment and many other important issues.
Remember, all kids count.
Reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.