By Amanda Shafer
The American political system is not living up to its highest ideals. Our government is gridlocked, and our citizenry is divided across party and cultural lines. Countless issues have arisen in the past decades that threaten the prosperity of Generation Z and Millennials. Yet polarization prevents politicians and private actors from acting, and the vast majority of Americans have been turned off by how toxic politics has grown. Politics is failing our young people.
It’s easy to write off the system as damaged and ineffective, to give into disillusionment, and grow politically apathetic or extreme. Especially in an election year where the stakes are so high, and compromise is a nasty word. Succumbing to these polarizing pressures though, is a wholly ineffective solution for addressing the issues that we currently face.
Instead of falling further into the bitter partisanship entrenched in politics, Gen Z and Millennial leaders are taking a step back to examine and acknowledge the problems facing today’s young people by working through the polarization to find common ground.
In a show of generational unity, BridgeUSA has convened the Generation Roundtable, a bipartisan coalition of youth leaders who agree that Climate Change, diminishing Economic Mobility, and a weakening Democracy prevents young people from reaching their highest prosperity. The Generation Roundtable demands that our political system take action to find solutions in a bipartisan fashion.
The Generation Roundtable’s core committee includes Benji Backer, President, and Founder of the American Conservation Coalition; Andrew Brennan, Chairperson of Seek Common Ground and Fellow at National Geographic; Daniel Di Martino, Economist and Activist; Jesse Barba, Senior Director of External Affairs at Young Invincibles; Alexandra Hudson, Writer on Civility; and Maria Yuan, Founder of IssueVoter. These voices join together, for the future of this country, to make a statement that issues, such as climate change, economic mobility, and a weakening democracy, must be addressed.
Through the Generation Roundtable, we can begin to envision a future that works for every American and leaves no one behind, no matter their race, their gender, their economic status, or their geographic location. In realizing bipartisan action on these three issues, we can mend our social fabric and build a culture that is tolerant, empathetic, and grounded in the highest ideals of our constitution.
As young people, we have hope for a future where climate change is mitigated, where everyone has the opportunity to prosper economically, and where our democracy lives up to its fullest potential. We the Young People demand change to reach a better future because the American ideals have always aspired towards progress, liberty, and opportunity.
About the Author
Amanda Shafer is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, working as the Executive Director of the Bridge Institute at BridgeUSA. She is passionate about fixing politics and making our government more productive. She has worked at several non-profits, written opinion pieces for national outlets, and worked in the U.S. House of Representatives.