What if we all stopped complaining and started doing? What if we realized our ability to have an impact, to fix the problems of the world, instead of idly sitting by as we watch the world as we know it crumble to pieces?
Each day I confront a slew of opinionated, oftentimes angry statements all over social media, the news, in passing conversations — expressing people’s disdain with the current state of the world. Whether it be the election, our stagnant political system, economic inequalities, social issues… the supply of complaints is endless. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve joined these ranks many a time.
Speech can be a powerful tool to create momentum toward fixing these inefficiencies. However, it’s not all talk. We must “walk the walk”, too, as they say.
These comments come from all people: all ages, all occupations, all political leanings, all social classes, and so on.
Yet increasingly dominating this scene of activism is the millennials, the oh-so-controversial generation.
Maybe we’re lazy, maybe we’re doomed, maybe we’re the brightest generation yet. Whatever the scrutiny we receive, one thing is for sure: we are the future.
To fix these issues, however, there is one system we must break into if we wish to see great change: politics. Yet it is these precise problems that have turned us off from doing just that.
We are frustrated. We see politics as a game ran by a select few holding power at the top.
Despite the fact that millennials currently represent more than a quarter of the population, we only hold approximately 6 percent of elected legislative seats.
No wonder our ideas are not being represented. The government system is still heavily run by the baby boomer generation, who we have come to outnumber.
As the National Conference of State Legislators states: “Legislators from the baby-boomer generation have a disproportionate influence in America’s legislatures, with nearly twice as many members as their overall share of the U.S. population would warrant. The millennial generation (1981-1997) is seriously underrepresented in both state legislatures and Congress.”
“Who cares?”, we say. We have other dreams. Perhaps we are infatuated with the idea of thriving in Silicon Valley. We flock to sexy start-ups and take pride in finding new areas of innovation, new ways to disrupt the status quo of business and technology. We start our own small business. Or maybe we become accountants and consultants because in today’s volatile economy we want job stability and a decent salary.
This is all good and important. But I am convinced that our best and brightest will not be able to succeed in Silicon Valley much longer if we do not take some of those innovative ideas and apply them to create a more efficient political and regulatory system.
For a compelling argument in this regard, I urge you to take some time to read The Third Wave by Steve Case.
The fact is, we must bring innovation to all areas of life if we wish to be lifted up from this mess. And the obligation to turn this all around falls on the shoulders of our generation.
Politics are hard. They are defeating. As it stands today our political system is seemingly impossible to navigate, creating vast inefficiencies left and right.
But we are the future. We must get up, step up to the plate and shift our focus from sunny Los Angeles, California to the inner workings of our Capitol, which really aren’t as scary as they seem.