Millennials

We are entitled. Of course we are entitled. As one of 75 million Millennials in America today, it’s something I hear quite often. The usual arguments have to do with recent college graduates demanding a million dollar paycheck the day after they get their degree. Or, I’ll hear a story about how we’re over the top on the politically correct scale and that we want to shut down free speech when we disagree with it. There is a common theme with these arguments: Instant gratification, and it’s not very surprising we have such an affinity for quick satisfaction given our current lifestyles. Nearly 4 out of every 5 Millennials watch programming on Netflix. Even more tune into YouTube for their media appetite. I don’t know anyone who gets through their day without using their mobile phone. Any app you can possibly imagine is right at our fingertips. And if it’s not, well that won’t stop us. Millennial small business owners tend to run companies differently than their Baby Boomer and Gen X counterparts. We delegate more, due to instant access of professional services online. We offer unique, non-traditional benefits to our employees such as laundry services, free food, expensive break rooms, and more. We are now the largest generation (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/) which, for all intents and purposes, means we have the most voting power. We have a lot of pull in deciding what direction this country will head in, and we are registering to vote at a higher rate than ever before. We can make a difference.

We don’t show up. We are entitled. Instead of dragging ourselves to the voting booths, we complain about not being able to cast our vote online. I agree with these complaints. Here’s a question: what is the most efficient way to get legislation passed that is important to you? By dragging yourself to the voting booth and reaching out to your elected officials with issues that are important to you. As it stands, we feel disenfranchised because there is no benefit to candidates pandering to our needs. Sure, we get vague promises from some, or unrealistic positions that sound good but can’t possibly be feasible without bankrupting the country from others. Still, only 42% of eligible Millennial voters exercised their right to choose the direction of their country in 2012, compared with 61% of Gen Xers and 69% of baby boomers (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/05/16/millennials-match-baby-boomers-as-largest-generation-in-u-s-electorate-but-will-they-vote/ ). We have the same opportunity we had in the past three elections to voice our opinions. But we are entitled. We feel the political system in America owes us, though we rarely give back in return. How dare they rig the game in their favor, and how dare they favor big businesses year after year while we end up jobless or working for minimum wage. Here’s a secret: big business has no vote. We do. All we have to do is use it. Lobbying only works so well when you have 75 million constituents actively taking a stand against what they feel are injustices. Instead, we don’t show up. We are entitled.

We don’t listen. During the aftermath of the recent Brexit vote, Nigel Farage spoke in front of the EU to the sounds of boos and hisses. Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, stopped Farage to make this statement: “One major quality of democracy is that you listen to those, even if you don’t share their opinion”. We don’t listen. We build safe spaces to insulate ourselves from differing opinions in an attempt to homogenize our own little worlds we live in. We do a lot of yelling, and very little discussing. Discussion takes too long and we are entitled.

We can make a difference. We can start to have dialogue again, respect other opinions again, and listen again. We can start showing up and being heard. Or, we can make excuses. We can blame toxic leadership, though we voted them in. We can blame social media for allowing such contrasting ideas to rub up against each other on a daily basis, though we can’t go a day without checking our Facebook account. We can blame the system and the establishment, though we don’t show up to vote for change. We can go out there and earn our representation through activism and politics. But instead, I’m going to type a few hashtags on my social media to try and enact some change because hey, we are entitled.

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