Flames of the Torch

Lately, our generation has been on the receiving end of a lot of chastisement from older generations. One of the many criticisms we constantly endure is that our generation has become overwhelmingly materialistic, causing us to lose sight of things that truly matter, like politics. In fact, we have been charged with being perhaps the most apolitical generation to emerge in American history. This point of view, however, will not hold any weight by the end of the upcoming presidential election.

Our parents and grandparents’ generations were some of the most politicized generations in recent history. The 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s marked a time that was exhilarating yet also uncertain. Anything could happen in that period of intense world rivalries. In order to combat this uncertainty, the generations before us took matters into their own hands.

They found that radically democratic spirit of taking action themselves, instead of relying upon those who had authority over them. They realized that the country was suffering from social injustice, which they believed could only be cured by politically mobilizing the youth. In turn, the youth could bring about significant change from the bottom up. They fought racial inequality by staging sit-ins. They also held rallies for women’s rights and gay liberation.

Their successes outweighed their failures in that they heavily impacted American politics and culture. What is truly admirable about these generations is their attitude. They believed that their generation had the power to change anything, the whole world for that matter. Every individual was an agent of change, and therefore each person mattered. This attitude is reflected in the art, music and literature of the times.

If there is indeed a progressive flow to history, then the aim for each successive generation should be to take steps leading us closer to a just and enlightened society. By objectively analyzing the accomplishments of the generations that came before us, we will realize that there is an incredible burden placed upon us. We are, just like our parents and grandparents, living in an incredibly exciting yet dangerous world. Similarly, anything can happen. We, the youth, have finally started to recognize this as we’ve become more and more fed up with the political situation of this country and have begun to call for change.

When we graduate, we will be a highly educated workforce that will still experience job uncertainty. This is just one of the reasons why the youth today has been motivated to get politically involved. This is demonstrated clearly in the present race for the White House. Instead of losing faith in the political system as some of the preceding generations did, we have embraced the electoral process and found hope within it. The increase in young people providing grassroots support, working for a campaign, or even blogging for a candidate signifies this belief.

This is an unprecedented time, where an African-American, a woman, or a Mormon could become our next president. By providing a great amount of support for their campaigns, our generation has shown that we are not concerned with a candidate’s race, gender, or religion but with what they promise. There is no doubt that our votes are going to be a determining factor in the race for the next president.

Since we will play a significant role in electing the next president, we will never again be charged with being indifferent about things that really matter. Just as the previous generations raised the bar for us, we will definitely raise it higher for the generations to come in the wake of the approaching presidential election.