My birthday is in early November. I turned 18 a few days before a presidential election, and I am proud to say that- with all corniness aside- I was genuinely excited to vote. I registered and got on the ball as soon as I could to cast my vote for what I considered to be the lesser of two evils in a race with a swift-boat fraud and a “meh” Republican. While I was not excited about the candidates, I was excited to engage in the democratic process.
Through all the jabs about how my vote didn’t count in a “blue” state and how the two-party system was broken, I felt an untarnishable pride in knowing that men much greater than I fought and died for my right to vote. Both of my grandfathers picked up arms to protect my rights; one had multiple ships blown out from under him in the South Pacific and the other became a POW immediately after he became the sole survivor of the explosion that blew him out of his B-17. They sacrificed for an idea, for their country- the least I could do is read a damn voters pamphlet and figure out what my vote meant.
It seems, however, that I am an anomaly. I recently had a conversation with a young bleeding-heart who was passionate and argued her viewpoint with a vigor and enthusiasm that was somewhat endearing. However, devoid from her side of the conversation was anything remotely specific or fact-based. Sure, she could tell me that she sensed that Barack Obama cared about the plight of the middle-class, but when I asked how had he demonstrated as such, facts were nowhere to be found. When she attacked Bush for “leaving a mess” for Obama, I cited the last two years of his presidency that was equipped with a Democrat-controlled House and Senate. She didn’t believe me. I had to whip out an iPhone and Google it before she would believe that the 2006 elections saw a Democrat House and Senate. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is this what my generation has to offer?”
Recent polls indicate that millennials- people 18 to 25 years of age- are heavily leaning Democrat. That’s no surprise; but what is surprising is the degree to which they lean left. Romney trails Obama by 16 points with people my age.
I’ll admit that fiscal conservatism is not the sexiest of topics- it’s a form of discipline, and that’s never as fun as cutting loose and throwing caution to the wind. So, I get why the first impulse might be to support the guy promising to throw money around like a bigshot at a club. The only problem is, that bigshot that is throwing money down and “making it rain” is doing so with money from a cash advance that he took out on our credit cards. He’s not buying us things, he’s just using our credit card.
Furthermore, how can my generation be favoring the man who looks to punish success? As many millennials are getting out of college, they are discovering that businesses are not growing; thus, they’re not hiring. The entry level jobs have been gobbled up by the laid-off 40-year-olds that got laid-off from their middle management positions and have eagerly accepted the lower management jobs that used to go to college graduates as a starting place for a career. It’s depressing to think that one of the smartest guys I knew, a mathematics major, delivered pizzas for two years after graduating.
We don’t have to look around too much to see the devastating effects this economy and, by extension, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress are having on us. Some millennials have gotten wrapped up in the idea of what Obama represents; many like him because he represents a turning point in our national history as he is the first black president. But if this is truly a post-racial society, than the novelty should wear off and he should be accountable for his failed leadership like everybody else. Some like the attempted redressing of perceived social injustice. But at some point, we should all grow up and realize that the world is not fair, a class system exists and not everybody can be an astronaut. The sooner we collectively discover that lesson, the sooner we can get back on track.
Obama has the youth vote. It’s not surprising, but it is baffling. I aim never to twist someone’s arm into believing what I believe; however, I am of the opinion that a good deal of the youthful support of liberalism can be attributed to naivety, ignorance and the over-reliance on “feeling” instead of “thinking.” That being said, we should all do our part to address issues based on rational thought and encourage others to do the same.