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Electric Jester
by Steve Castle
Magazine Issue: Vol. 2.2
E L E C T R I C . J E S T E R
the politics of youth
N E X T P A G E >
. .The
. . .of Youth

Why disinterest in government is a good thing.

Every once in while I see a news story about something that is supposedly plaguing our society and, if the stories are correct, will someday weaken it like a festering infection. I'm not talking about Fen Phen. I'm talking about our generation's growing disinterest in politics and government.

These stories usually cite some study and show charts and graphs about how people in their 20s and 30s have lost interest in following our government. (True.) They say we feel that the people in power don't relate to us. (True.) And they predict that when the time comes, no one from our generation will be able to step forth and lead us further down to the road to ruin. (Phooey!)

People from our generation are just as qualified to screw up our society as those from older generations.

Older generations always look down and say that the young 'uns aren't pulling their weight. This is a very natural thing that every generation goes through. Do you think that our parents were all that politically active and motivated in their 20s? Okay, so some participated in protest marches and went to jail and chained themselves to large objects. But what happened after they graduated from college and had to stop using drugs and had to support themselves with jobs? They stopped listening to the politicians, that's what they did.

And why did they do that? Because once they had to work like dogs to support themselves, they only had time to listen to the truth. No truly busy person has time to listen to some pol's partisan blather.

Our generation has just stopped listening to them sooner -- and we've wisely skipped the dangerous step of being beaten by riot squads.

Our disinterest in politics should be seen as a good thing -- not because it's natural, but because it's necessary. We need to be disinterested, and we need for others to look down at that, because it's the only way our out-of-touch political system is going to heal itself. It's like free enterprise. If you have a lousy product, sooner or later people aren't going to be interested in it any more. Then you're out of business. Then someone with a better product fills the void.

In other words, the system has to collapse if it's going to grow stronger. Now don't think this is some sort of anarchist tract. It's not. Anarchy doesn't work because it's way too unorganized. It's apathy that works. Because once the system realizes it's not reaching the people it needs to, it'll have to change in order to survive. And it will survive. The politicians will see to that.

Right now our government isn't so concerned with its disinterested youth, because they have plenty of other generations who view politics as some sort of talk show blood sport. For some reason we grow these politics cells as we get older and start getting more and more interested in listening to grown adults lie and call other people names. Maybe it's the years spent working for a living that make older generations appreciate the back-stabbing and the treachery. Maybe it's the realization that YOUR generation is ready to take control of the country and has to fix what your parents' generation screwed up beyond belief. Or maybe it's the natural instinct to make the world a better place for your grandchildren. I'm not sure what motivates people to become political, but someday we'll know. We'll know when it's time to take control, and we'll become more active.

Maybe we'll become more active in our apathy, and that's not a bad thing either. Maybe our generation will learn how to identify with younger generations and encourage them to become involved. And maybe -- just maybe -- we won't feel so threatened by them.

If we can accomplish only that, the world will be a much better place.

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