Why Us Young Adults Do Matter

Oh, how I wish I was “like, healthy and hot and running around without a care in the world”. Actually, that would be a great change of pace from my current lifestyle — working two jobs and going to college full time doesn’t exactly give me the opportunity to do so.

But what do I know? I’m young, unwise, and obviously not fit to vote as you flagrantly stated on The Five the other day:

Well, actually, I’m male, so apparently that makes me fit to vote… or something, because what you actually said was specifically directed towards young women.

But it’s not as if stifling young ideas is anything new from the Republican party — it’s a decades long blight for the party whose roots come from forward-thinking philosophers like Adam Smith and John Locke.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around why somebody would encourage young adults to not vote and not participate in public discourse. It’s reminiscent of the old idiom, “Children should be seen and not heard,” except that you would rather not see or hear us — and we’re not children.

The same generations that fought in WWII, put a man on the moon, and even fought for our independence were once kids. They went to school, held jobs, make mistakes, and tried to innovate just like us.

Your generation, which I’m assuming is Generation X, played a pivotal role in forming many of the diverse aspects of today’s culture. Your ideas, born from the conservative ideology of the previous generation and mixed with a splash of the free thinking eras of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, gave life to our ways of thinking.

My generation doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to voting. We have turnout rates of less than 40%, and admittedly we do have a larger sense of entitlement than we should. Is this really our fault? I say no.

I actually blame you for this. Not solely you, Kimberly, but I blame all the older generations who try to put us in a box. Yes, it’s because of people like you that we don’t vote and don’t care.

See, there are a handful — actually, fifteen to twenty or more — talking heads that put us off. We hear misogynistic comments from the likes of Rush Limbaugh or hear Ed Shultz call Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut”.

For Republicans, this is an especially bad area. Republicans have a tendency to be less politically correct and hold on to older, defunct ways of thinking (see: Todd Akin). As my a friend of mine succinctly put it:

Honestly, how are we supposed to convince our peers that not all Republicans are crazy when every single one they see in the news is, in fact, crazy?

Kimberly, have you ever worked for College Republicans? Well, I do. And it’s incredibly difficult to garner support for a cause that all too often is represented by fools who can’t put together a non-inflammatory sentence or, worse, actually believe the inane words they spew.

Believe it or not, the majority of my peers actually would make pretty decent Republicans. Do you know how many believe the government is too big? How many dislike the NSA snooping on their conversations? How many would rather have more liberty than government parenting? Or even how many — believe it or not — understand and agree with right-of-center economics?

It’s incredible. Honestly, it’s shocking. But these issues, the ones most critical to the classical liberal ideology (remember, the basis of the Republican party?) are often overlooked because of many wedge issues used by you pundits to garner ratings.

You use issues like companies paying for birth control as examples of how “us kids” are out of touch. But back in reality, we’re not. We may support same-sex marriage, believe that immigration reform can benefit both potential immigrants and the rest of us, or argue that women aren’t treated the same as men.

These issues drive away future Republicans, and inspire more apathetic voters, more Democrats, and ultimately more non-voters. They make us College Republicans look like fools who are still supporting an old, tired, dead ideology.

I’m not here to say whether same-sex marriage or abortion or any similar issue is right or wrong. What I am here to say is this:

We, the Millennials, can and are willing to hold true to the same classically liberal, freedom-centered ideas that our founders envisioned. We can and will be the generation that can straddle aisle and bring together both extremely polarized halves of our government.

But we can’t. We can’t because we’re not given the chance. We’re “too young”, “not wise enough”, and too “uncaring”. Our ideas are shunned because they break from the norm. We differ in minor ways that are blown out of proportion.

And you’re losing us. We’re here, ready and willing. But it’s your choice whether or not you’ll quit running your mouths and take time to help us or just continue preaching to your own, shrinking, dying choir.

Regardless of your choices, we’ll be fine. But the country may not. The older generations — the Greatest Generation, Generation X, the Silent Generation — their time is running out. America really rests on our shoulders, and you keep throwing more weight on top.

But what do I know? I’m young and dumb.

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