Have we moved into a new stage of ‘millennial’ history after the Trump/Brexit results?
Castigated for our apathy towards life, work & politics for so long, we may be on the verge of becoming an active political class.
Increased voter turnout between 18–25 year olds, attendance at street protests, social media warfare.
I hope this trend continues. The main lesson to take away, though, is that apathy is dangerous.
We may have been lulled into a false sense of confidence — and therefore inaction — by our biased Facebook newsfeeds, friends coming from a similar demographic & the left-wing geographic bubbles we live in, but our political failure is essentially down to apathy.
To prevent bad things happening in the first case, we need action. Be it voting, canvasing or even just reading up on the different policies of each candidates.
One thing we never seem to address, however, is why we are so apathetic in the first place?
Why does our generation not give a shit about anything? Why do we not act on our beliefs?
I believe we are apathetic as a generation because we lack purpose.
Whereas previous generations had clear goals to achieve to achieve ‘success’, we do not. The progression from school to university to a stable job to a wife to kids to a mortgage to retirement no longer makes sense.
I’m not sure it ever made sense, but the important point is that this was perceived to be the benchmark for success for generations.
What, then, are you left with?
Unless you have found your path within an NGO, altruistic start-up — or even buy into the whole economic system & work happily in finance — then it can be a depressing thought to think that it doesn’t really matter.
Why would you not just maximise fun & spend as much time & money as possible in enjoying yourself.
Why does politics really matter if you’ve only ever thought about the next night out or holiday?
Everything has always been ‘fine’ for us. Nothing that great, nothing that bad. Nothing has ever offended our values or restricted our freedom in any tangible way — other than the University fees increase (even then, only for a small percentage of people).
Now that many of us entirely disagree with the direction the Western world seems to be going (Brexit, Trump, Le Pen next?), will we see action? Or will we just see a short barrage of Facebook posts that fizzle out over the next few days?
Will our political awakening be sustained? Will it become a political movement, as we’ve seen with Podemos in Spain?
Will this sense of political purpose give us purpose in other aspects of life? Inspiring young people to start a business or join an organisation that positively contributes to the world?
Who knows. We’ll have to wait & see. Nothing has ever overcome our collective apathy, but maybe this is the shock we needed to act.