Note: The following is an opinion piece by a very close friend of mine, Jason Buckley. Fresh off the first Presidential Debate, thought it was fitting to have a narrative from a young voters perspective without being too much about politics and more about the importance of young people. It's about using their constant obsession with being connected to the digital world for the better and being more in tune with what is going on.
Our generation, “The Millennials,” have a lot to say; we instantaneously blurt out almost everything that pops into our capable, yet under-used brains. We have endless channels available to state our opinions, and social media only has made it all too easy to be heard. Yet are we, as ingenious technologists as we have become, actually saying less?
There is a tremendous amount of chatter covering an endless array of topics, but at times, it looks like the words on a completed Scrabble board – disconnected and meaningless. Disclaimer: I am just as guilty as the next person – my Twitter page is littered with the most ridiculous accumulation of bullshit imaginable. Yet, we log on to social media – whether Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest (I suppose some people still use Myspace) – to feed an insatiable appetite. Do we want to know what everyone is doing at all times? The short answer is apparently, “yes.” Very rarely do I read something on any medium that has any true meaning behind it: pictures of food, people lamenting about their bad day when they are really asking for pity and the quintessential worst of all – song lyrics. We have the ability to reach out to so many different kinds of people all over the world, and this is what we have to discuss. I can’t help but wonder if our generation is headed for failure, even with the heralded “advancements.” We just hardly discuss anything of substance. We are a generation of “now,” with no foresight, no vision for what happens tomorrow.
There are so many important things happening in the world, and honestly, I’m not sure if the majority of our generation cares or even understands. However, you can bet that we’ll read a Facebook status about it. We are the ones who are going to shape the world for the next 50+ years. Here in lies the dichotomy: we are an always-on society that has fallen asleep. If we don’t wake up and start to take a genuine interest in world around us, then we’re stuck in a perpetual dream. In 2008, the median age of a voter in the presidential election was approximately 44. Conversely, the oldest “Millenial” is 32, demonstrating an obvious disconnection in our generation. The right to vote is something that we should not only exercise; but also feel privileged to have. I don’t think we realize how lucky we really are with so many populations throughout the world that have no voice, whether formally or systematically. Some may argue that their vote doesn’t count because they are but one in 300 million, but this is such a misconception. Every vote counts, and the more we fail to remember that, the less our vote does count. The effort is as easy as posting a picture of the lovely little meal that you just cooked, and you should feel just as proud.
It really isn’t difficult to do a little research on the issues and make an educated decision based on what you feel is the right choice for you. We clearly have the time and energy for the effort, because “Millenials” devote countless hours a day reading about everyone else. So, it is fair to assume that we should be able to find the time to adequately research the issues that will steer the future of our country. After all, in 50 years or so, it will be just as much our country as it is now. Our instant-gratification generation should be fueling the decision-making, or it will be long gone! We have so much to say and plenty of places to say it, so let’s use it for something important for a change.
-Jason Buckley 10/5/2012