By Nicola Prigg
“The current crop of 18-25 year olds is the most politically apathetic in American history. In 1972 half of that age group voted. Last election, it was 32%. Your generation is less likely than any previously one to write or call public officials, attend rallies or work on political campaigns. A man once said this: “Decisions are made by those who show up.” Are we failing you or are you failing us? It’s a little of both. A guy on my staff showed me a report from the centre of policy alternatives that said 61% of your generation agree with the statement “Politicians and political officials have failed my generation.”
President Josiah Bartlet, West Wing series 1 episode 22.
That was first shown in America on 17th May 2000, yet over a decade later, much of it still holds true on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the 1992 UK General Election, 63% of 18-25 year olds voted, in 97, turnout was 51%, in 01 it was 39%, in 05 it was 37%, at the last election it was 44%. Now was that a blip or is the trend starting to reverse?
If decisions are made by those who show up who is failing whom? Are we failing the politicians by not being active enough? Not communicating our vision of society or what we believe the future is and how to implement it? Or are they failing us by not encouraging us enough to show up? Or are they failing us by not communicating with us by asking us how we see the future? Or not implementing policies that would help us so we see the benefits of speaking up and fighting our corner?
Is it any surprise that we see politicians falling over themselves to give benefits to the elderly? The elderly are twice as likely to vote and the politicians are continually seeking to be re-elected. It is therefore in the interest of the politicians to pander to the older generation and screw the younger generation.
We won’t get angry enough to vote in the next election or seek to change the system that led to this political corruption.
We might riot but that will just be used to turn the elderly ever more against the young. Politicians will use it as a way to pander to the elderly (What these youngsters need is a nice long jail term. We’ll lock ‘em up and throw away the key.) Instead of providing role models, restorative justice that gives us hope instead of hate and rage and challenging the status quo to make the lives of youngsters better.
If we, this nation’s future want to make this country better for the future, we shall have to shouter louder for longer, be more passionate in our causes, just to be heard.
We as the countries young generation have a challenge on our hands. Decisions are made by those who show up. We have to challenge our generation to show up, so that the political class do not fail our or future generations again.