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A Democracy In Crisis


March 18, 2023- Action- Nidhi Nair 

A Democracy In Crisis

News headlines after news headlines. Tik Tok after Tik Tok. Post after post. Generation Z, admired as one of the most influential and iconic age groups, is facing a new era of choice. A choice to continue amongst the pathway of progress, or, continue through the trail of societal stagnance. As a member of this generation, I can attest to the overwhelming addiction and dependence our generation has on social media and its result in our inability to accurately grasp national news. And yes, though there might be unbiased sources and news outlets, the idea of news among social media faces so much backlash- yet at the same time, leads a pack of malleable youth. Our country is facing an identity crisis. A country so esteemed for its newly flourishing democracy is now dwindling to a nation whose constituents don’t even use the very right that thousands of men and women died for. 

Challenging our nation’s democratic norms and commitment to civic engagement is the state of our current government and political environment. Though Generation Z possesses some of the brightest minds in the world today, our overall level of education in the U.S political genre seems to be low. Because no government class is required to be taught during k-12 school years federally, the operations of our very own government are not well informed throughout our society- especially within youth groups. How do we sanely expect 18-year-olds to make such big decisions with major repercussions whilst having a fundamental knowledge of the consequences of their choice? It's blatantly obvious that America is entering an epidemic of knowledge, or lack thereof. Go into any common high school or college in our nation, and you will come to face 3 different types of voters. The first one is the least prominent- the one that has a basic understanding of campaigns and party ideology. The second one is the majority- those who are influenced by their parents/guardians. At last, the final student- the one who decides this change in pace provides too much effort and responsibility, so instead of accomplishing their duty as a citizen, they decide to easily not take part in voting itself. It is vital for not only our country but also our democracy to change these normalities and introduce the paramount responsibility that every single citizen of America has. 

The youth provide a significant amount of opinion to our country. Around 12.8% of our nation’s population comprises adolescents ages 0-19. They have thoughts, feelings, and most definitely concerns about the direction of our country. Laws and legislation all apply to youth and thus, they feel the impact of civil conflict and dissatisfaction. Yes, the youth may not inevitably have as much real-world experience, but their voices and opinions ought to be heard within the walls of our democracy. We also see that the future relies heavily on the present. Without an accurate and active youth voter base, we cannot guarantee that we will even have an adult voter base as the years go on. The youth right now will be adults tomorrow- and their level of interest and education in our nation’s political well-being is essential in creating the necessary change required in our country. To ensure that our democracy can continue and live up to its highly esteemed expectations, the youth must start engaging in their civil duties. Instilling the habit of voting, reading the news, and simply keeping up with global affairs will be pivotal for the health of America. 

As part of Generation Z, I see- and also- experience challenges of misinformation, neglect, and parental influence on adolescents. Combating this major problem should be high on the list for current legislators if they even want to see our way of life continue. In light of current events, it is safe to say that not enough young people are doing their part in our democratic elections. The fact that our top two contenders for President are above the age of seventy should alarm most individuals. Accounting for only around 17% of the US’s population, 70-year-olds now seem to be our country’s top two presidential candidates. The deficiency of youth political engagement is so clearly correlated with the decrease in new candidates being able to run in elections. In the status quo, our country has become so polarized that running for office seems to come with many more cons than pros- thus demolishing the very ideals of democracy the United States of America was built on. Extremist supporters- fueled by the very prevalent dosage of misinformation- threaten the lives of people simply due to differing ideas. In all honesty, it is completely reasonable for so many new candidates to be deterred. The current polarity of American politics is becoming increasingly difficult to even grasp- with two extremely different ideals, no compromises can be made- ensuring that no true progress will be made within our legislation. The polarizations have ultimately resulted in a decrease in individuals entering the political environment. It should alarm constituents if the extremists on both sides are creating such a toxic environment for candidates to enter. 

To conclude- America is a country with so much potential, with so much prosperity, justice, and talent; yet it seems as if we’re entering a period of self-sabotage. US politics has been the center of global attention for as long as one can remember- but now we have found ourselves in the center for the wrong reasons. As a society- it is in our very own hands to gain the multifaceted respect our country once had and deserves- but that starts in the hands of future generations. An integral part of our democracy is understanding compromise, teaching our youth what it means to compromise and how to be okay with compromising should be a necessary part of development. Our democracy is in our hands now more than ever and as a citizen it is our sole responsibility to keep it alive- we must stand for progress, for change, for compromise, and inevitably for the future. 











Works Cited

“2022 Election: Young Voters Have High Midterm Turnout, Influence Critical Races.” Circle.tufts.edu, circle.tufts.edu/2022-election-center.

“Explore Population - Adults Ages 65+ in the United States | AHR.” America’s Health Rankings, www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/measures/pct_65plus#:~:text=The%20age%20distribution%20in%20the.

“United States Population by Age and Sex.” Www.census.gov, 2022, www.census.gov/popclock/data_tables.php?component=pyramid.

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