My column in today's Diamondback is a response to Naomi Wolf's Sunday Washington Post column "Hey, Young Americans, Here's a Text for You", in which she bemoans young people's lack of involvement in the "democratic process".
I take exception with her attempt to paint all "young people" with the same stroke, while also explaining what is causing some people to tune out. At the same time, I agree with her that Americans need to have a greater awareness of and appreciation for the values and principles our country stands for.
One popular explanation for our generation's disinclination toward politics is the supremacy of pop culture today. Another is that there is a lack of focus on government in schools. The first point is rubbish. Even in the time of Grover Cleveland, people paid more attention to the latest hit march from John Philip Sousa. The point about education does have some merit, and I wish there was more of a focus on democracy, the Constitution and American history during the K-12 years. Yet I severely doubt that your average schoolboy in the 1800s knew his Preamble from his 11th Amendment, and he didn't even have Wikipedia to look it up.
What has gone relatively unnoticed, and quite disturbingly so, is a loss of confidence in the good that the United States represents. This is especially true among people our age, for whom patriotism is a lost cause. Never mind the unique freedoms that we as Americans enjoy or the richness of our diverse multi-cultural society, college students are more likely to cynically (and often ill-informedly) bemoan globalization and U.S. military power. I'm all for criticizing your own country to make it better, but I wonder if the cynics realize they have it better here than they would anywhere else in the world. The principles our country is based on are worth being informed about and worth defending.
Read my entire column here: Generation Zzz?