Here’s One Reason America’s Youth Is Increasingly Progressive

In the United States, different social groups have different perspectives of the nation’s history. Race, gender, or sexual orientation largely determine one’s view of history. Marginalized social groups remember the horrors of the past and the murdered ancestors. On the contrary, when people of dominant social groups look at history, they see the successes, and thus they want to “make America’ great’ again.” The vast differences between minority and dominant social groups’ perspectives of history help explain a lack of older generations’ progressiveness. Additionally, this also explains why America’s youth is increasingly progressive.   

Considering that 76.3% of the United States population is white, the trends in the nation are influenced the most by the white community. Additionally, at least 80% of Black people already identify as Democrat — and 29% identify as liberal. So, as you read about how America’s youth is increasingly progressive, it is rightful to assume that the white community’s perspective is most prominently changing.

Older Generations

The Silent Generation, Boomers, and the Gen X’s are the oldest generations still alive. The people who comprise these generations were alive to see the past 100 years or so. The things that younger generations look at as “history” are just the past moments for the older generations. They remember times when society was even more opportune and beneficial for white people than marginalized groups. A majority of the dominant groups’ members don’t think of the horrible history our country has, and so, therefore, the country was never anything but great for them. 

The other side of the society, however, sees a not-so-great American history. Older members of disenfranchised social groups personally, or through stories, remember segregation, Jim Crow, and the KKK. From this perspective, the United States has never been great. Indigenous American, Hispanic, and Latinx people share this not-so-great perspective of American history. For the Indigenous Americans, it’s the mass genocide of ancestral tribes and hundreds of other horrors. It is the enslavement, murder, and eviction from their land along the southern United States border Hispanic and Latinx people.

Younger Generations 

A protester in Washington DC holds a sign featuring George Floyd.
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Younger generations, such as Millennials Gen Z, are more progressive than their older counterparts. According to research by the Pew Research Center, the views of voters throughout the different generations have become increasingly progressive over time. In 2018, the Pew Research Center reported percentages on generations’ approval of Donald Trump. The numbers were as follows, 54% of the Silent Generation, 43% of Baby Boomers, 38% of Gen X, 29% of Millennials, and 30% of Gen Z. Overall, we can see a downward trend on average of 6% per generation. Despite an overall downward trend, Gen Z rose 1% from the previous Millenial generation. However, it’s important to note that Gen Z has the least number of eligible voters, which means significantly less of a sample size. That aside, since older generations experienced a different era of the United States, their perspective is different.

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The younger white population in America doesn’t remember when it was socially encouraged and accepted to overtly abuse people by the color of their skin, their orientation of sexuality, or any other identifying factors. Don’t confuse this with the eradication of racism or other prejudices. While the United States has mostly shifted away from blatant abuse of minority social groups, that does not mean that discrimination doesn’t exist through more inconspicuous forms. However, as I said, the younger white generation grew up in a seemingly more accepting society. So they are more likely to interact with a more diverse group of people and be more empathetic towards minority social groups.

Future Generations

As the less empathetic generations pass on, the newer generations will only become more and more progressive. I like to think about how my generation’s — Gen Z — kids will look at us and our parents as much more conservative than their views.

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We can see proof of younger generations becoming increasingly progressive in upcoming political leaders. Older generations think of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as too far left. However, ask anyone just out of college or younger, and they’ll most likely know AOC, and tell you how much they like her. She may have incredibly out-there ideas, but that’s what we, the United States, need. Because everything was impossible ‘til someone did it.


Do You Want Change, Or Not?

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Around election times, chances are high you will engage in a conversation discussing some type of political issue. From my personal experience with these conversations, I realize — political parties aside — everyone wants things to change. Whether it be fewer taxes or a new bill, everybody desires change, but no one wants to do what it takes. 

Here’s Why Change is Important

Given the opportunity, anyone and everyone will tell you about something they wish were different about the government. This habit — surprisingly — is quite healthy.

An article on Huffington Post talks about why change is essential in our daily lives. The article claims that change pushes us, as a society, forward and educates us on the ambiguities of life.

Change is comparable to evolution. Both take what has worked and what hasn’t in the past. Clear out the faults and weaknesses replacing with, or leaving, only the strengths.

The only difference is Mother Nature does not seem to forget her history. Whereas us humans seem to repeat the very history we condemn.

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Here’s Why Nothing Changes

When I observe society’s desire for change, I notice that it is quite counterintuitive regarding our hunger for routine.

Here’s what I mean.

We, the people, created a model of what a president should be. Honorable, intelligent, and, well, presidential. Our model of what a president should be does not take in political parties. It is merely a model of characteristics. Looking at all 45 presidents, only a few fall out of the standard — most recently Donald Trump.

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This universal standard is critical to making sure our chief in command is worthy and capable of running the United States. But the model also keeps much change from happening.

Some presidential candidates promise extraordinary progress, yet they are hardly ever favored.

This year, 2020, Bernie Sanders — a U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential candidate — has a significant focus on free college education. To me and the other college students and graduates, this is a fantastic idea, but to adults, he is a socialist with wild hopes and dreams.

Adults ask questions like, “Well where will the money come from?” “More taxes? No way, I pay too much already.” Too many variables — to the older, more cautious generations — means too many chances for things to go wrong.

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And this is the reason change hardly comes. The older generations — gen. x and earlier — find variables offsetting. They find candidates that fit the presidential model much more favorable.

People’s desire for normalcy does not play well with their willingness to change. In fact, the desire for comfortability hinders change. 

Here is an example of a relatable, comfortable politician.

Joe Biden — vice president under Barack Obama and 2020 presidential candidate — falls right into the presidential mold. People look at him and see someone that reminds them of their grandparents. And he reminds people of Barack Obama. It may be comforting, but it is not what brings change.


How To Bring Change

I believe that when the new generations begin to fill in political positions such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, change will be inevitable.

The new generations — millennials and gen. z —are increasingly embracing the change. We see the different variables that politicians bring as a chance for genuine change.

Fortunately, we do not have to wait for the new generations to come into play.

Next time you sit down to decide who or what you are going to vote for, take a chance on someone or something that has maybe one too many uncertainties than you are used to.

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It will be something that you will have to get used to. But it is a good all-around principle that applies to our daily lives outside of politics.

The comfort zone is one’s worst enemy when it comes to progress. From meditating every day to pushing yourself in your workouts, the discomfort will only make you better.  

Next time you find yourself deciding between what legislation or candidate to vote for, remember a little discomfort can make the most significant changes.

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Which Side of History Will You Be On? Hopefully It’s the Right Side

The United States is in a weird position right now. You’ve definitely (I hope) read about the impeachment of Donald J. Trump and impending senate trials, the encaging of Hispanic immigrants, etc. I could go on with a list for days about the wrongdoings of this nation. And I know you’ve definitely learned about history’s wrongdoings, from the Holocaust and Stalin to the slavery of African Americans and the segregation through Jim Crow. While each of these events differs drastically between one another, they each have a fortunate resemblance, they all came to an end. They all left plenty of issues in their wakes, but they each essentially came to an end. So, when I hear “Trump did this,” or, “said that,” or “supports them,” I look at it as another one of these tragic events. Trump’s impact on the United States is not comparable to the likes of Hitler or Stalin, or the enslavement and segregation of African Americans. Still, it is essential to look at the conceptual side of it all. When we do stop and conceptualize the evils throughout history and how they always seem to be righted, you will come to the conclusion that pure evil does not persist. There are undoubtedly arguable cases where darkness still lingers from historical events, but these are mostly after-affects. And so, I believe that it is not an “if,” but a “when” Trump’s “reign” will come to an end, just like all other evils throughout history.

The end of Trump’s reign, however, brings up another issue. After he is brought to justice for the wrongs he’s committed, opinions will be formed, and his associates will be judged. We can take a look at the previous examples from above, the Holocaust and Slavery. If you ask around about Anti-Semitism, most people will say that they definitely do not support it. Of course, there are outliers, such as Neo-Nazis and those who are merely violently discriminatory. But the majority of people have taken a stance against what Hitler and his millions of followers once believed. We can also look at slavery, a closer example to home. Millions of people from the South (and a few from the North) supported and promoted the enslavement of Blacks. Now, however, when you read the small paragraph in your textbook from high school, you see that it is definitely not supported by the majority of people. However, your occasional, not-so-uncommon racist persists within the nation. With both examples taking place around a hundred, or so, years ago, you can look at the present and see that people have taken a side. One of those sides is forever engraved in history as the wrong side and the other, the right side. And so, all I can think after comprehending this is, “What side of history will you be on?”

It’s all in your hands, nobody but you can decide what side of history you will be on. I urge you to look for more examples, even for some cases that counteract my belief. Whatever it takes to get you thinking about this situation because an enlightened mind is an open mind. And an open mind will drive you to the right side of history.

Choose the right side.