Nearly four years after enthusiastic younger voters poured into polling booths to help push Barack Obama over the finish line and into the Oval Office, their hope has turned to fear and pollster John Zogby says that they are ready to give up on politics.
“I truly am worried about today’s twenty-somethings,” he frets. “They are our global generation and I have seen them move from hope and grand expectations for themselves and their world to anxiety and disillusionment. We can’t afford to lose them,” he adds.
Back in 2008 I wrote a piece entitled Is Generation Y That High Maintenance? where I discussed the (then) present enthusiasm of young people for Barack Obama. But I also added a warning:
The tricky part for a Barack Obama, if he is elected, is fulfilling the unrealistic expectations of the overconfident in the face of the current economic situation. Will his followers stick with him like dutiful children to a parent? Will they bolt and go somewhere else, like a different job? Or will they just go to pieces, like the losers in Beijing?
It seems that we are seeing one or both of the last two.
If there’s one thing that drives me batty about this country, it’s the way we’re constantly pumped with unrealistic expectations. Generation Y is a product of a lifetime of non-stop pumping. The last four years have been a tough reality check, but I’m still not convinced that this “teachable moment” will result in a meaningful education.
We–all of us–need to stop looking to the government or to society at large for our salvation. We need to look somewhere else.