Politics + Social Media + Millennium = Huh?

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Napoleon Dynamite, 20th Century Fox -2004
Editor’s Note: We here at the Sisters In Law Blog believe in providing differing view points regarding the conversations of the day. To that end, we are proud to bring you this piece by our guest blogger, who parses what it means to be a “Millenial” during the 2016 Elections.

By Chandi

Millennial. I believe this term is thrown about so loosely. Here’s why: a millennium as we know it, is a period of time representing 1,000 years. Yet for some odd reason a ‘millennial’ is a human being who has been born between the years of 1980 and 2000, a mere 2% of a millennium. Perhaps whoever coined the term was thinking about the people who grew up in the age of the 2000s…Who knows? Whatever  the reason behind it,  I don’t entirely agree we should be mentally confining ourselves to one group of people .

Nonetheless,  I had the pleasure of growing up with a wide range of things, from the Beatles to Saved by the Bell to Madonna, Michael Jackson, Super Nintendo, MTV Spring Break, etc. etc.  Being the baby of five kids from baby boomer generation parents, I was more exposed to things people my age generally were not exposed to, unless they had older siblings. All of that to preface, I have a very different (or skewed, depending on how you are looking at it) perspective on everything, including politics.

I was born the year Clinton had been inaugurated for his first term and I can honestly say I have been coherent for five presidential elections: Bush, Bush re-election, Obama, Obama re-election, and now the current election. We can all agree that social media became a huge powerhouse and outlet for political content starting in 2008. We no longer gained information about the political race from the newspaper, TV broadcasts, The Daily Show and SNL’s satire, but became exposed to every thought and move made by candidates  through Facebook and Twitter.  Social media blew up the conversation on politics.

While I think this may be a positive thing to inspire people to actually have an opinion and to make them aware with our “I Voted” stickers, that yes, it is in fact election season, we have seemed to open a whole new can of worms. Not only are people publicly displaying who they favor, but they are susceptible to antagonizing or being antagonized by friends and family. A term us millennials like to call “trolling.” Sure, a little criticism never hurt nobody. But not when it can cost you to be unprofessional or lose friends. These are things our parents didn’t have to worry about on such a grand scale, but our generation has to.  People like me, who have such strong and diverse opinions no longer want to voice our opinion in fear of offending others. We are told to go vote, participate in rallies, talk to our congress people, but unless you have the time and are an incredibly motivated person, you more than likely will not. And its not because we don’t care, it’s because that is what we focus on now, time. Immediacy.  How fast can I do something or see results? That is what the society, technology and media from the 80s to now has brought us: fast pace, immediate results, and impatience.

And this is what I struggle with understanding the most.  We are an intelligent species.  We obviously have the ability to progress technology and expand our ‘own world, but when does it start becoming harmful to us as a human race? Why are we seeing repulsive mudslinging in a 2016 presidential election? And why are we feeding it the energy it needs to keep going?  I don’t want to see that in a political debate.  I want to see issues being talked about to ensure that if and when I do start my own family, we will be protected and safe in my home country. I want to know my country is not regressing and that our progress isn’t slowing us down mentally. I’m proud to be an American and want to continue to be one. But this is what it feels like, to me, to be an American Millennial during the 2016 election: confused about reality.


Chandi is a senior International Business Major at the University of Texas at Dallas, works full-time, and after summer internships, will pursue graduate school. You can follow her on twitter @chandayyy

 

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