It will come as no shock to anyone that knows me when I make this statement:
I hate politics. I don’t care about politics. And so long as whoever is in charge doesn’t try to blow me, or large numbers of relatively innocent people, up, I’m never going to care about politics. I’m almost 31, and I’ve never voted for any level of government, despite having registered to vote when I was 18. I might be convinced to vote in this election, purely because I’m concerned one of the candidates (I won’t say which, form your own opinions) might result in the aforementioned blowing up of me or large numbers of innocent people.
Which is why this isn’t a post about my political views. If you don’t like that I don’t care…well that’s actually sorta what this post is about. It’s an explanation, at least, and perhaps a reality adjustment or bit of insight for the people who haven’t realized what’s going yet. Namely, that the newer generations of humanity (at least in the western world) don’t care about politics, and they have extremely solid reasons for not caring.
What do I mean? Let me break it down for you.
Millennials (Dates are debated hotly, for this post I’m roughing it as those currently 20-35) are the most diverse generation ever, the highest educated generation ever, and the least likely to have a “traditional” family (Source). They are also the first generation to have serious exposure to the uncensored realm of the internet, granting them a level of almost unavoidable insight into the world and how it functions.
Now let’s think about that combination of factors for a moment, a generation of highly educated individuals with a live webcam feed watching the proverbial “man behind the curtain.” For the first time, a generation broadly aware (not just on a person to person basis, but an entire generation) of just how little “good” there is in politics. Aware just how little actual care elected officials have for the people that elected them. A generation who finds it childishly (literally) easy to track the money, to observe the sudden censorship clampdowns on traditional media, to reference a politician’s entire library of positions, votes, and statements against their newest claims. A generation, in short, who has realized that there is virtually no difference between one politician and another. Not, at least, as it effects them personally, for that is the other half of the equation.
For the current generation doesn’t care much about the traditional issues politicians campaign on. That “all men are created equal”… really is self-evident. In an ethnically diverse generation, where unequal treatment based on race or gender is an alien idea, why should I care about civil rights laws? In a generation where we’ve been at war with someone, sometimes multiple someones, near constantly, why should I be any more afraid of this man’s foreign policy than of that man’s? In the most educated generation ever, why should I concern myself with education? Particularly when that education is worth less than ever. In a generation with low marriage and child rates…why should I care about taxes, since I’ll get squeezed dry equally by everyone? Doubly so with the move in our generation to contracting, consulting and crowd sourcing, the workers in all of which are taxed higher than traditional jobs. The government has proved it can’t budget it’s way out of a paper bag regardless of who runs it, our generation likely won’t see social security even if we pay in, the environment has been helped more by private enterprise than government, wars have been constant and all the soldiers (of ours at least) are volunteers so good luck scaring me with the idea of more. Why should I care if this state gets jobs and that one doesn’t, I’ll just move to the one that did. One in every three millennials isn’t U.S. born, why would we care about immigration?
To be perfectly blunt…the way that those under the age of 35 or so live in the modern world, disconnected from life by the buffer of our devices, we aren’t noticeably effected by the changes in power from one corrupt politician to another. Little to nothing we care about is going to alter overmuch, and if it does we have more options than ever to ignore, circumvent, or escape the change. Add that to the previous point, the ability to see behind the curtain, and it becomes more effort than it’s worth to participate. We can see that it won’t change very much, that the effect of our efforts would be minimal at best, and just exchanging one flavor of evil for another at worse, so…why should we put forth the effort?
No, seriously, why? Even if you try to bring up things that my generation and younger should care about, like net-neutrality…the reality of the matter is that virtually every millennial knows perfectly well that, even should the ISP’s win and gain the right to selectively block or direct content, a simple 5-minute workaround would bypass anything they could do to enforce it. It’s no different than knowing I can root my cell phone to bypass those same companies restrictions on how I use my smartphone features. More, companies like Google are now diving into the ISP market, and they would eat any company who actually tried to put in those limits alive. It’s not that they’re pure as the driven snow, they aren’t, but playing the open-source free-access card (like with free developer access to the android OS) is what they’ve built their model on. Private corporations setting themselves up to play the common man’s hero are doing more good in the pursuit of profit, than our elected officials are in their supposed service to the people. How messed up is that?