12-12-13 – A Millennial Revolt

by Shayne Spence

I was extremely happy to see the results of a recent Harvard poll on the political views of 18-29 year olds, the millennial generation which has tended to support liberal policies in past years.  The poll reflected a massive shift in the way young people are thinking, with a majority (57%) saying they disapprove of the President’s signature health care reform law, and 51% saying they believed they would be paying more for health care under the new law.  These revelations come just one year after the President cruised to reelection with a 37-point advantage in the youth vote over Mitt Romney.  Even more shocking, 52% of 18-24 year olds said that they would vote to recall the President today if they could.

So what has happened to cause this turnaround in a little over a year?  Well, given the responses to the questions about health care reform, obviously the botched website rollout and failures to fix the problems have caused millennials to lose respect for the government.  My generation has seen such technological advances as the iPhone, Facebook, Google, and Wikipedia, so we expect great things from those who try to innovate.  President Obama promised us great things with the health care exchanges, and with his presidency in general, that he has categorically failed to deliver on, time and time again.  The list of broken promises grows longer with each passing day, and young people are sick of being duped.

The ever-growing laundry list of privacy infringements does not sit well with millennials either.  This is the generation that lives online, who are connected by cell phones, social networks, and Buzzfeed articles.  We signed petitions against SOPA and PIPA, not because we want the ability to cheat musicians and actors out of their hard-earned money, but because we understand that the Internet is the last true bastion of freedom we have left.  So when it was brought to the public’s attention that the NSA has been collecting cell phone records of Americans, tracking cell phone movements, accessing Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn servers without their knowledge, as well as doing so to foreign heads of state, we were among the first to call for this to change.  When asked whether they were comfortable with the government collecting data in the name of national security, less than 1 in 5 said they were comfortable with any private information being shared.

And the most insulting part of it all is we thought we wouldn’t have to deal with these things anymore.  I remember in 2008 when we heard about “hope” and “change”.  We were promised that Guantanamo Bay would be closed, and 5 years later that promise remains unfulfilled.  We were promised that the troops would be brought home, and despite a shuffling around of troops in Afghanistan and a partial end to operations in Iraq, we are more involved in Middle Eastern affairs than ever before.  And despite then-Sen. Obama calling out President Bush on “undermining the Constitution” with NSA spying programs, all evidence points to those programs being increased under President Obama’s watch, rather than the reductions we were promised.

I am glad to see that others of my generation are starting to see what I see; this Emperor wears no clothes.

Shayne Spence is the Outreach and Development Coordinator at the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mark Donka December 14, 2013 at 3:47 am

Shayne,
Great article keep up the good work letting your generation know that we can change the direction our Country is heading. But we need to all work together, together we can save the future.

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