In defence of Milennials

By Ryan Ehrenworth

In the 21st century, the world drips with the sticky syrup that is apathetic indifference. Glued to shimmering screens, our youth seem more concerned with the paltry matters of their mobile phones than their community and state.

Or so it may seem.

The so-called abasement of active citizenship in our young people is much more a creation of pessimistic baby-boomers than an active reality.

The mythology of the lackadaisical millennial, or in layman’s terms, the lazy youth, has served to afflict youth participation in the arenas of politics, community and the workforce for as long as elders have asserted their superiority over young persons. Just ask Generation X and the Baby Boomers. In many ways culturally distinct from their former generation, the latter generations of the 20th century’s transgression of traditional social norms led to a level of unforeseen progress in matters of equality, sexuality, and social justice.

However, it seems the old adage that time is cyclical is true again. As the rebellious generations of the 20th century pass their prime, they continue to cling to the last vestiges of political power at the expense of Millennials. And who is to blame them. This exact political mobilization is the precise reason why progress was had in the first place. But, when coupled with the sentiment that youth are unfit to lead, this refusal to allow today’s crop of subversive youth to seize power is simply as retroactive as it is hypocritical.

It has been said that the youth bear the torch of the future. This is certainly true. In 50 years time, it will be the decisions of Millennials which will most profoundly shape the contours of the world order and not any former generation. Does that scare you? It might but it certainly shouldn’t.

Millennials have taken on the ill repute as apathetic when it comes to the rights and responsibilities of citizens - the same fallacious moniker as their parent’s generation.

Our elders are quick to attack the use of cell phones and social media as distractions from the real world. In some instances this may be true. But with the potential to be connected to citizens around the world and receive news in real time, Millennials are outfitted with the technology that will allow them to become the world’s most important generation yet.

A society that empowers their youth is a society that will endure. And while roadblocks are set to challenge youth participation in government (minimum age requirements etc.), the youth movement is just beginning. Take the United States election for example. Bernie Sanders, a relatively unknown Senator from Vermont, was nearly chosen as the Presidential candidate for the Democratic party despite his leftist agenda, an honour largely a result of his loyal youth following.

In Canada, things are not much different. In the 2015 election, 57.1 per cent of youth aged 18-24 voted (a major increase from years past I might add).

Age is just a number. And while there is certainly something to be said about life experience, nothing is learned without trial and error.

Ambitious, educated and community-minded, it is no longer time to fear millennials but to embrace them and their ideas. For after all, is it not their world to inherit?