During the 2008 campaign conservatives were portraying young voters as automatons with a cult-like devotion to Barack Obama. There was an assumption that young Americans would unquestioningly answer the beck and call of Obama and Democratic leadership regardless of what we were being asked to support. 2009 and the first month of 2010 have proved that assumption false.
Millennials are more progressive than previous generations. We also must live with the consequences of legislation and policies, or the lack thereof, much longer than the elected officials creating and enacting those policies. Unfortunately the Democratic Party has been myopic in its legislative vision, concerned more about the potential effects on upcoming elections than the effects of their actions over the coming decades.
Myopic policies do not inspire young Americans to devote their energy and effort to their passage. The re-election of a few septuagenarians in November does not outweigh our desire for real fundamental change that will make lives better for years to come. By most definitions Millennials are not even old enough to have a representative of our generation in the Senate, and there is only one member of the House under 30, and he is a Republican. Millennials must rely on members of older generations to create the legislation we need.
If Democrats want young Americans to fight for their policies, they need to propose policies that Millennials believe are worth fighting for. Extending the careers of older politicians is not motivation enough, nor is a vast Democratic majority if the Party isn’t willing to use it. Until we are asked to support legislation that is powerful and far-reaching, our response is going to be lackluster. However, if and when we do see such legislation, I have a feeling that this generation will be on the front lines for it.