As a millennial, I believe that my generation holds more power than they know especially regarding politics. I am a journalism student who has witnessed quite a bit of students whom have no interest in politics or voting in general. On multiple occasions I was instructed to conduct man-on-the-street interviews with college students regarding the most recent election. On three separate occasions, I went out onto my campus (Columbia College Chicago) to uncover how my generation truly felt about the election and politics as a whole.
The first time I had to approach students to discuss the election, I had to interview three students and ask them questions like, “What are your feelings towards politics in general?” and “Are you going to vote?”. The responses I received were not surprising. Students responded to the first question with the typical answer of not really having an interest in politics because of how dirty and unpleasant it has become over the years. Students simply do not want to fight with one another on the matter. They choose to avoid what is happening in the real world and focus solely on their own lives. Which in some cases, makes sense. Students already have so much to worry about and stress over that they do not need the additional pressure of redirecting their attention to politics. However, it is so important for students to care about what is happening. The outcome of the election greatly impacts our futures and the futures of our families.
When asked the question if they were going to vote, I found disturbing answers. The students replied with answers such as, “I don’t think either candidate is qualified therefore I am not going to vote.” Or “I have not paid enough attention to politics so if I do vote, I will have to research beforehand”. What I wished these students would realize is they do not have to spend time researching. With apps that they use every day directly at their fingertips, they could have enough of a view built up just within Twitter. Twitter itself provides people, mainly millennials, with so much information which then sparks the interest in them to go out and investigate the issues that matter to them, even further.
The other two interviews I conducted were the days of both of the debates. I was instructed to ask students if they were going to watch the debate, and if the outcomes of the debates would sway who they might have decided to vote for. The general consensus was that the students were not going to change their mind simply based on one or two debates. The students who did place a value on keeping up with politics, no matter how nitty gritty it became, expressed that they had already made up their minds on which candidate they were going to vote for. They did say that they would
still watch the debate only to see how the candidate they already set their mind on, would perform.
The uninformed students on the other hand, had very different answers. These students expressed that they had not paid attention to politics thus far so why start now? That as the sort of attitude they gave off in their answers. Some students said they were simply too busy to watch the debates live and would try to catch them on some form of social media later on. However, there was no sense of urgency amongst these students.
I believe as a millennial it is important for not only us, but for our future families, to be involved in politics today.