Can Gen Z Save Us? Only with Adult Partners
A case for intergenerational civic learning
September 22, 2020
In this op-ed for The Bulwark, Citizens & Scholars President Raj Vinnakota makes the case for adults and young people working together to strengthen our democracy. From the article:
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In his first inaugural address, former President George W. Bush asked every American “to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens building communities of service and a nation of character.”
It seems increasingly clear that, in the nearly 20 years since then, we have failed at President Bush’s challenge to every American. We are at record low levels of trust in our neighbors and in government. Too few of us have friends or neighbors who look, feel, think, or act differently than we do. We sit in our own echo chambers, reading like-minded media and listening to like-minded others, only further polarizing our attitudes. Most of us (87 percent) believe that this division is poisoning our current national conversation, threatens our democracy, and is destroying close personal relationships. And with the cliff’s edge of the November election just ahead of us, we have even let the very maintenance of a healthy, thriving democracy become a partisan issue.
Gen Z—working alongside their elders—just might save us. And it may be that they are all that can.
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