I Saw the Sign?

“Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.” – Ronald Reagan

Generation Y, also known as Generation We. Or as my late grandfather used to call it, Generation “Y Can’t We Think About Others?” We are a fickle bunch, a generation of Twitter, iPhones, and immediate gratification. I want it now or I don’t want it at all.

We don’t vote. We really don’t. We have so many other things we could be doing like…wait….hold on, almost got it…yeah, I couldn’t come up with anything. It’s not “cool” to vote anymore. We take a lot of things for granted, such as the right to vote, because growing up, we knew once we turned 18, we could cast a ballot. And yet, we are the age-group demographic that votes the least. For no reason other than we cannot take the time to tear ourselves away from the computer or our phones to stand in line for 10 minutes and press a few buttons on an e-machine (gasp, touch screen technology!).

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Generation Y voted for President Obama by a lot. Try 66% voted for Obama. 66%(!!!) I was in college during the 2008 election and I felt so outnumbered by Obama supporters. I had a friend, really smart girl, who I asked why she was voting for Obama. Her response: “Well I’m voting for him because everyone else is.”

…”Because everyone else is.” … I was astounded. Did someone, a well-educated, extremely smart girl at one of the most prestigious public universities in the world just tell me she was voting for Obama not for her own reasons, but because “everyone else was?” That, my friends, was the start of why college graduates in the last four years have been dubbed “CENGAs” or College Educated, Not Going Anywhere.

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12.9%. That is a number I throw out to my peers. 12.9% of people 18-29 are unemployed. That is nearly 1.5 times the national average. And it’s not getting better. We, Generation Opportunity, the generation with the most potential, the future leaders, the future businessmen, are getting passed over in this economy by the ones before us, because they have more experience. Taking the entry-level jobs designed to give us the experience.

You graduated from a highly-respected university with a degree in an emerging field (business, accounting, IT) and a lot of debt. “Debt is fine to take on,” said our parents. “You will be working right out of college and have it paid off in no time.” If only that was the case. Good luck paying off those loans working part-time retail or waiting tables. Trust me, I’m going through this now. Hard to buy those iPhones and iPads and that new car you’ve dreamed of now, eh?

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But there is hope! A new poll by Zogby shows 41% of the 18-29 year old voting bloc supports Romney. 41% and holds Obama at 49%. There is hope for our generation. But we have to take advantage of it. If we are the Generation of Instant Gratification, did we get what we wanted four years ago, or will our generation make a change for the sake of getting what we wanted? Can you afford that iPhone5 or iPad Mini (*drools*) coming out in October? I bet Mom and Dad can…and if they are like my mom and dad, they’ll have one and you won’t. And it sucks.

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