Laura Stepp wrote a good opinion article on CNN.com, asserting that younger people would be less likely to fall into political gridlock than the current old dogs in Washington. As a young person, I certainly agree, but perhaps not for the reasons upon which Ms. Stepp elaborates…
Basically, it boils down to this: Young people are hungry.
We are quick, edgy, results-driven. We have to be. In a poor economy the competition is brutal. There are too many college graduates for entry-level white collar jobs. There are too few white collar jobs available these days. There are too few jobs, period.
We young’uns have to be fast, flexible, and unfailingly professional. We can be replaced in a snap, and we know it.
We young’uns have to multitask and have diverse skills, most of which we must pay to attain ourselves because businesses, organizations and agencies no longer wish to pay for training. In today’s market they don’t have to: Desperate young graduates, with or without the help of their parents, are willing to get trained and certified on their own dime.
What of the previous generations, the ones in Congress and the White House who have mucked things up to the point that the U.S. has lost its vaunted triple-A credit rating?
While many individuals of those generations had to struggle, they did not face this Great Recession. They faced Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” and enjoyed the boom of the nineties. Most Congressmen came from wealth and privilege in the first place. They have never had to hustle, to perform. They graduated from Ivy League schools and worked for their rich parents or the rich friends of their rich parents.
They do not perform because they do not have to, and perhaps do not know how. Their collective behavior reveals that many of them do not feel that performance is important for a legislator.
I start my new job on Monday, as a brand-new teacher at a Texas high school. I am excited but nervous, knowing that I must perform well. With economic weakness bound to continue, I must strive for perfection to ensure that my name does not grace a list of “employees to be downsized.”
It is disgraceful that many of the old dogs in Congress, fat and comfortable, have never had to feel the same way.
How can we change this disgraceful situation? Get more young people involved in politics and government. On August 22 I begin teaching two periods of U.S. Government per day, and I intend to make it count.