Speed-of-light communication. Instant data transfer. Smart Phones. FIOS. Isolation. Debt. Unemployment. I often wonder if it’s only me thinking this: though we’re more connected than ever as a society, young people feel more-and-more alone. Most GOP Presidential candidates seem oblivious to this, if not hostile. I’m not trying to write a sob story here, but I’m going to make myself a case study– to make a point.
Most of us folks under 30 are just fighting to get by — doesn’t matter what one’s political affiliation is. A lot of us aren’t able to do it without help either, I’m certainly not. My granddad still pays my grocery bills. I never feel good asking for the money — but I don’t have many other options (beside moving back to my parents’ for an indefinite period). Time-wise, I’m working at full capacity, and I’m still without health insurance. For those of us blessed enough to have supportive family structure, we can find help and emotional encouragement there. For others, it’s significantly harder. A lot of young people grew up in dysfunctional, broken homes. They don’t have married parents who love them, or generous grandfathers, like I do. We stepped into a world that wasn’t ready for us, a world that really, doesn’t seem to even be able to handle itself given the economic chaos looming over the eurozone… and our own economy.
The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ kids aren’t entirely wrong, they got the ‘not making enough to get by’ part right. Clearly, the majority of them have misdiagnosed the problem (by blaming capitalism), but they see and feel the very real effects of corporatism.
I sympathize with their frustration. When you’re devoting your entire emotional capacity to ‘keeping it together’ it’s really hard to connect with the world around you — or other people. I have little time to spend with friends. Often I feel isolated, and longing for companionship; I haven’t dated since college ended, my emotional focus has to stay on myself, to keep my head above water.
I’ve avoided retreat thus far… doing everything in my power to stay away from the cliche parental basement. But this has led to my moving from place-to-place every few months, taking temporary work, and internships where I can find them. An unstable lifestyle. The fact remains, 800-something days after smiling for the camera with my diploma, my bank account is still very-much in the red, and my money woes are where I have to devote every ounce of me. I’m not the only one.
All of us are handling it a little differently, some are biting the bullet and making the move back to mom and dad’s, and plenty who do that remain under-employed. Sure, There’s a few of my friends here and there, that are making decent money– but we couldn’t all be compsci engineers for Boeing or IBM. I could name them on one hand.
Others have just given up, they stare blankly at computer screens, and veg away at videogames, because they’re out of motivation to stand up again. Those are the ones I have heard some older TEA Partiers call ‘lazy’ throughout Facebook-land. That’s the most depressing thing to see; it’s not that they are lazy, but their spirits have been broken by the Keynesian world that failed them. Now the generations before us that allowed these policies are attacking them.
All the while, the media has declared Former Federal Reserve Governor Herman Cain as the new Republican ‘front-runner’, and I suppose the ‘inevitability of Romney’ narrative will die down for a bit (or not). With as many as 85% of graduates having to move back with mom and dad, here’s what Mr. Cain had to say about poor young people to The Wall Street Journal:
Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself! […] It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed.
I am vexed, I am exhausted, I am broke, my health is mediocre, I’ve yet to make more than 20k in a year, and admittedly, I am lonely. I don’t blame Wall Street qua Wall Street, but I absolutely blame the policies of the Federal Reserve, the treasury, and the Wall Street banks that they bailed out. Those policies are wiping out the middle class, my buying power, my employment opportunities, and creating a very uncomfortable air of uncertainty for the youth.
Mr. Cain happened to once be Chairman of Godfather’s Pizza, but less-frequently mentioned is his Chairmanship over the Board of Directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. That fact, coupled with his statements… aren’t going to be winning the GOP any youth votes.
After McCain’s army of seniors lost to Obama’s energetic youth brigades in 2008, youth support is something the GOP desperately needs. Youth aren’t just votes (of which Obama captured 66 percent), they’re fresh, energetic faces on TV, they’re boots-on-the ground that go door-to-door. They stay up until 2 a.m. organizing precincts and canvass data. McCain didn’t have that in 2008.
I’d assert that only one Republican Presidential candidate does (I voted for him in 2008, and will do so again in 2012), but the conservative establishment seems determined to ignore this man and rabidly attack young people that support him.
If so-called conservative politicians found the courage to implement sound fiscal policy, and stand up against inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve, they’d be able to solve the under-reported Youth Depression. Candidates like Mr. Cain would be wise to be a little more empathetic to the very-real youth plight. Lest Team Obama become the Young People’s faux-champion. Again.