A new millennial survey by GenForward and NBC News paints a picture of the generation as a relatively optimistic one, despite being split on some fairly crucial issues. The good news is that while millennials may dislike the current political climate and the president, they feel positively about rebounding economy and our country’s future.
Despite popular opinion, millennials aren’t a generation who expect others to do things for them. 63 percent of millennials surveyed believe that “by participating in politics, [they] can make a difference.” This doesn’t just mean running for office, as the survey also noted that 75 percent of millennials think political groups and organizations are more effective than elections when it comes to “producing real change.” Millennials have been active participants, if not the majority, in a number of large-scale protests and have witnessed the impact that a passionate community can have on national and local policy.
It’s also true that more millennials themselves are entering government. In fact, sixty percent believe they’re well-equipped to be political participants. Though this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all running for office, it could lead to more millennials participating in grassroots campaigns and working to raise political awareness in general. After all, we don’t think the government is going to help us. A whopping 85 percent of those surveyed believe that the government is beholden to “big interests looking out for themselves and their friends.” We’re not even particularly enthused about either party in the two-party system, although millennials do lean towards the Democratic side.
The stereotypical image of the lazy, entitled millennial just isn’t true. We suffered through the highest-ever college tuitions and now experience stagnant wages. Our spending habits lean toward the frugal, very much influenced by the effects of a recession we witnessed firsthand. What’s more, as this survey proves, millennials are a generation committed to effecting social political and environmental change, and we are prepared to work for it ourselves. Since we can’t place our trust in the government, we choose to at the very least place trust in ourselves. We trust that we can make change, influence leaders and make the country a better place to live for all of us.
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