YA/New Adult Political Apathy

Have you seen the video interview with the 12-year-old Egyptian boy who understands what is happening socially and politically in his country far better than most adults do- in his country AND ours! Check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4umifTLSII  Go ahead; I’ll wait…

Oh, good, you’re back! What makes that video so amazing to most people is that Ali Ahmed’s knowledge is unexpected and unusual in a boy so young. But what should that be the case? Does the failure lie with our educational system that doesn’t teach kids what’s going on in the world around them and how to navigate the current socio-political climate? Is the failure a result of crumbling morals and the self-absorption of today’s teens who are more concerned with celebrities who became famous for… nothing they’ve done worth mentioning, much less admiring?

Some young adults express a hopelessness when asked what they think about the current social and political conditions in America, which doesn’t exist in earlier generations. There is a sense of defeatism, a belief that efforts to change things for the better is pointless.

While there is a part of me that understands the feelings of futility sometimes (especially when I’m reading apocalyptic fiction about our society!), it is still frightening to witness such apathy in teens and young adults. After all, they are going to inherit this mess- apathetic or not. If they don’t care, who will? Sure, they might outgrow the apathy, but by then will there be any resources left to turn it around with?

Your turn: one blog I read recently suggested that a mandatory military draft is the answer to YA political apathy. Read it here.  What do you think? What will it take to get the milennial generation to care? In a nation that leads the world in three things:

– the number of incarcerated citizens

– the number of citizens who believe in angels (there’s statistics for this one?!)

– defense spending

… what will it take to turn things around in this country?