The Great Divide in American Politics
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Politics and Activism

The Great Divide in American Politics

How the rivalry between baby-boomers and millennials threatens the Republic

The Great Divide in American Politics

The greatest divide in American politics today is between baby boomers and millennials. What amazes me is not that each faction has embraced what is in their generation’s best (social-economical/political) interests, but the disdain both factions share for each other in the political arena. The dismissive attitude both factions have of each other, the fact that both factions are willing to put aside what they have in common with each other—a country to keep—in order to follow the orders of those most radical amongst us (talk radio; fake news on Social Media; race-baiting television shows; selective review of the facts). So much that is not being said, at a time in which we should be coming together. Past generations of Americans faced their own series of challenges, and each past generation found ways to find unity of purpose and the social cohesiveness needed to meet the challenges which undermined the future of the country across generational lines. A millennial, today, may never understand the terror of growing up in a society in constant fear of nuclear annihilation. Similarly, a baby boomer may never understand the fear that most millennials experience and the ritual most of us engage in on the first day of classes, every year, when the first thing you do when you walk into your new classroom is look for the closest exit or the most secure place to hide in case a shooter decides to barge in to separate you from those you love most—I am now a senior in college and I still exercise this ritual, every day since first grade. This is something many of us have kept to ourselves, and with each shooting since Columbine—each shooting that seems to get every time nearer and nearer, we have kept our silence for fear of being misunderstood, of being told somehow that our fears are fabricated insecurities, being told that I somehow want to trample on my fellow brethren’s constitutional rights.

But the predictable discussion around gun control which unfolds after every mass shooting, is only indicative of a greater crisis taking place in our Republic; we have stopped listening to one another, we have become masters at ascribing the worst motives to those we disagree with in the name of patriotism, we conveniently skirt discussing issues in order to avoid engaging in conversations which might make us vulnerable, calls for political violence which at a time not so long ago were rebutted with wide condemnation, are now thrown around as something to be experimented with; and both the (baby boomers) generation which should be guiding us into a new American century and the generation (millennials) which should be preparing to take the reins of American power against a new series of challenges facing the homeland are deadlock on almost every issue while the future of the country lays in the balance. My warning to all, the challenges we face today: our national debt, rising China, climate change, race relations—will crush the US; if rather than implementing reforms to heal our land and lead the world in the 21st century we spend our time at each other’s throats; then it won’t matter how much one was for or against the second amendment, whether one was for or against free trade agreements—or any other policy issue. All of us take for granted our (the US) place in the world, we cannot imagine the world any other way, and the truth is that we would not be able to make it if we no longer held all the cards. If the 20th century taught us anything it's that regimes could rise and fall over night, entire structures of power can disappear in a matter of decades, and the most well intended individuals/institutions are capable of corruption—we are not the exception. The 21st century is not the century to take our existence—as we know it, for granted.

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