Generation X

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When walking to any class on the University of Oregon campus I can almost promise that you will be asked to sign some petition, support some group, or register to vote in your current county. In fact, the University of Oregon campus makes political involvement look alive and well amongst Generation Xers. Does the U of O reflect what most of Generation X feel about American politics, or if you were to go to a different university would you see another side of Generation X’s political involvement? If political activism is alive in all of “Gen Xers” then why is it that during the 1992 elections, exit-poll data revealed that only 25 percent of people between the ages of 18-24 voted, the lowest voting rate of any age group. Unfortunately, most students could care less. This “I don’t care” attitude is rooted in the “I have my opinion, you have your opinion, and that’s all” principle that is so common among students. When truth is relative to your own tastes, there’s no reason to try to find the right policy that is objectively best for all of us. The first thing that pops into my mind when I think of Generation X is the omnipresent negative descriptions of Gen X as superficial, stupid, lazy, and amoral presented throughout the popular media (as documented by Howe and Strauss 1993; Holtz 1995; Rushkoff 1994). How do these descriptions of our “generation with a PR problem” (Howe an Strauss 1993: 9) impact our individual experiences and how do our experiences/interactions with these ideas about Gen X help form social/political rules, roles, and structures? As someone born in 1979, I can’t help but consider, when reading about Generation X, whether or not these descriptions, evaluations and statistics about my generation resemble my experi... ... middle of paper ... ...at day comes. Would you hand over the future of a country to people who are on the whole more interested in watching MTV and playing Sega rather than taking time to vote or even educate themselves about the issues that are facing the country everyday? I wouldn’t. What would it take to get Generation X to the poles? If the largest excuse for not voting is no time then perhaps the best way to get Gen X to vote would be to declare Election Day a national holiday. Due to the resistance that would probably come about due to the cost of the whole procedure, maybe we should combine Election Day with Veterans’ Day. This would send a strong signal about the importance our country attaches to voting. Besides, what better way could there be to honor those who fought for democratic rights than for Americans to vote on what could perhaps become known as Veterans’ Democracy Day?

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