Hey kids, how’s that “change” working out for ya?
Young Americans showed their collective power when they helped vote President Obama into office. Inspired by his message of “change,” they knocked on doors, spread flyers, voted for him by a 2-1 margin, and partied like rock-the-vote stars when he won.
Since the election, though, that fervor has died down — noticeably. And while young people remain the president’s most loyal supporters in opinion polls, a lot of people are wondering why that age group isn’t doing more to build upon their newfound reputation as political influencers.
“It’s one thing to get excited about a presidential candidate. It’s another thing to become a responsible citizen,” says Jennifer Donahue, political director for the New Hampshire Institute Of Politics. She and other political analysts thinks they have yet to prove themselves.
Professors and students themselves also are noticing the quiet on college campuses, which were hotbeds for “Obamamania” during the campaign.
“They’re supportive, but in a bystander kind of way,” says Laura Katz Olson, a political science professor at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.
Erin Carroll, a 19-year-old sophomore at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, blames the lack of engagement on her generation’s short attention span. They want change — right now, she says — and haven’t gotten it.
“I feel like everybody walks around with their cell phone and their laptops. We feel like we need everything immediately. So that’s what we’ve become accustomed to,” Carroll says. “We’re the ‘me-me-me’ generation.”
It’s not just on college campuses.
Russ Marshalek, a 27-year-old professional in Astoria, N.Y., observes his 20-something peers sitting back and letting the president do the work for them. “Rather than allow him to speak FOR us, we need to be inspired BY him, and volunteer in our communities, speak our minds, write, read, think, act,” says Marshalek, a social media director who works with small businesses.
Such is the fate of Generation Y, as they’re known, both praised for their willingness to volunteer but also maligned as the “entitlement generation” — eager to help but unsure how to deal with tumultuous times that are a first for many of them.
……Volunteering for a candidate? Fairly easy to do. Helping solve some of the toughest issues to face our nation, from health care reform to a deep-seated financial crisis? Not so much.
……And if it wasn’t so in college, the real world — health care, economy, all of it — is about to get very real.
I’d amend Donahue’s statement with this: It’s one thing to get excited about a presidential candidate. It’s another thing to live with the consequences.
The number of young Americans without a job has exploded to 53.4 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.
The number represents the flip-side to the Labor Dept.’s report that the employment rate of 16-to-24 year olds has eroded to 46.6 percent — the lowest ratio of working young Americans in that age group, including all but those in the military, since WWII.
And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults — aged 16 to 24, excluding students — getting a job and moving out of their parents’ houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession — in which a total of 6.9 million jobs have been lost.
“It’s an extremely dire situation in the short run,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute. “This group won’t do as well as their parents unless the jobs situation changes.”
From my previous post: (http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/to-the-youth-vote/)
There’s a similarity between the youth culture in Europe and the American youth in liberal college campuses, coffee shops, and Bohemian neighborhoods. All of them have been inculcated by left-over 60’s radicals who now fill the ranks of academic intelligentsia.
They’re gonna change the world, to hear them tell it. No more evil, rich corporations exploiting the poor, and best of all, no more war. Everybody’s gonna hold hands and sing Kumbaya. The angry batshit crazy muslims who rail against the great satan because American imperialism pushed them into killing 3000 people on this soil, will put away their bombs and ignore the passages in the Koran that tell them to kill all infidels in name of Allah.
After these children grow up and have to live and work in the real world, we’ll see how they react to the Obama-inspired system they helped create.
These ‘bystanders’ wanted all the glory without the guts. The unicorn-filled dreams of liberals have been trampled upon by the hobnail boots of reality.
Reality is a bitch.