The Kids Are Alright

Wondering why Dems did so well in Michigan? Students wait in line to vote at Michigan State University – two hours after the polls had closed!

 

I am 55 years old, and every day I thank God for the fact that I have yet to fall victim to a sad disease that afflicts so many people my age and older – Kids Today-ism.

Kids Today-ism is the idea that the youth of the moment is The Big Problem with Society. Remember how Millennials were ruining everything? Well, some Millennials are now in their 40s, so they are no doubt getting ready to whine about the kids today themselves. Why do I say that? Because it is an idea that is as old as the hills.

How old? This grumpy old bastard once wrote this:

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

That was…Socrates. Yes, that Socrates. Shakin’ his cane and yelling to get off his lawn.

This leads me to a sacred tenet of the American religion that is Bullshit (we deeply worship it), and that is the idea that American youth today are disengaged. Often this is based on an absurd idea that when the person who believes that was a young person, they and their peers all voted. This is just not true.

If you look at the first midterm after the voting age was lowered to 18, there was no thirst for voting among young people aged 18-24. In fact, in 2018, that age group shattered the record of the post-18 era.

This year, by all accounts, the youth vote was strong once again. Early indications are that turnout among 18-29 voters was what delivered this better-than-expected election for Democrats.

Young voters are swinging close elections and pushing the party to a more progressive tilt, confounding all the Very Sensible Minds of the Discourse who were ready Wednesday morning to deliver their lecture that the Democrats must move to the center-right or perish. They are the people who will have to deal with the messes like climate change and gun safety, and they seem to know it.

I know, I know, their numbers in this election were well under 50 percent. But the numbers were high enough to shake up the wing-nut conservatives, who are reacting in the only way they know how: take away rights.

Another way to think about this is given the trends, as they age, their turnout numbers should go up. And their percentage of the population will go up.

Okay, so, Democrats should see this as a HUGE opportunity. The only bit of bad news in all of this is turnout was down slightly from 2018, but indications are this was due to the slowing down of youth voter outreach. Something that is easily correctable.

This sure beats patronizing stuff about Pokemon as far as inspiring young people. Keep in mind, half of Generation Z is still below voting age. This is a powerful voting bloc, and falling back on silliness like “Kids Today” nonsense and the myth of the lazy nonvoter garbage will only cost us a big opportunity. We also should work to make voting easy, as our overly complicated voting system is the main reason why we lag behind other nations. And Republicans are going to work even harder to repress voting now that the writing is on the wall. Will they follow the old saying, that a person becomes more conservative as they age? I am not so sure, given the existential threats like climate change, of which conservatism offers no answers for.

The last word goes to The Who.

3 thoughts on “The Kids Are Alright

  1. I tell my kids that they didn’t grow up breathing lead, so that means they are better and smarter than everyone their parents generation and anyone older than that.

  2. At 55, you are too young to be part of the generation where then-adults hung on every word that we uttered. We could hold “art exhibitions” of drivel that we had created ‘while under the influence of marijuana’, and be hailed as pushing the boundaries of art. At that time, Tom Wolfe had not invented that pushing the envelope image, so be were stuck with the boundaries of art.
    Whining about the antics of youth goes back to ancient Greece; I am sure that it goes back to the origins of speech, come to think about it. Just remember that we will gratefully entrust the world to them. Could they do worse than us?

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