The power of youths to change a nation

The power of youths to change a nation

You may think that young people cannot be effective agents of change because at their age theirs is about receiving and learning all the aspects of living in this world.

Wrong.

Young people can change things while learning about living in this world.

Take for example the American millennials who are changing the dynamics of American politics lately. Yes, certain vested interests in establishment America may not want the world to know it, but young people – millennials and Gen Z are driving a peaceful political revolution in that greatest country in the history of the world.

It started in 2016 when Senator Bernie Sanders ran for Democratic presidential primaries. His manifesto “A Future to believe in” resonated with progressive Americans.

Make America moral again

There were two main reasons why young progressive Americans were rooting for Sanders. One was the righteous messages he was advocating: 

  1. A political reform which gets private big money out of the American political structures and processes and puts a break on the growing oligarchic encroachment and safeguard American democracy as ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’. 
  2. An economic reform which addresses wealth and income inequality issues, which is not rigged against the American masses and that works for all Americans not just the privileged few.
  3. A social reform which addresses the plight of the vulnerable, the marginalised, the needy and poor with respect to healthcare, childcare, housing, and education
  4. A racial justice reform which addresses the problems of people of colour and minorities
  5. A criminal justice reform which addresses issues pertaining to police violence and disproportionate incarceration of people of colour
  6. A cultural justice reform which addresses the rights of all sections of the community to observe their cultural or faith-based practices
  7. An environmental justice reform which recognises the reality of climate change and addresses environmental challenges faced at all spatial levels in relation to energy extraction and utilisation.
  8. A foreign policy which promotes world peace and international cooperation in safeguarding global wellbeing.

The other was his unmatched 50-year record of authenticity, consistency and integrity.

Sanders chose grassroot mobilisation and accepting small donations from ordinary people as his campaign funding method unlike many establishment Democratic candidates who took money from big corporate donors.

Few people believed Sanders had a chance given his lack of name recognition and corporate media blackout of his campaign. But what many in America did not expect was the huge support that this 74year old self-proclaimed democratic socialist candidate received from the youngest demographic of the electoral population.

Campus millennials shaping the future of American politics

Sanders’ popularity during the 2015-2016 presidential election season was especially unrivalled among the millennials and young people.   They made every effort they could to see and listen to him speak in person at any opportunity like this Sanders’ planned commencement speech at the Brooklyn College graduation:

These were the young progressive demographics who believed the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination was stolen from Sanders by the shenanigans of the DNC in collusion with the Clinton campaign. They were the ones who fought hard at the grass-root levels in response to Sanders’ call for a political revolution and went through various agonies impacted by Sanders’ not winning the nomination. They do not just like Sanders. They love the man. They marked Sanders’ September 2016 birthday with their undying love and adoration for him: 

Sanders didn’t win the Democratic party’s presidential nomination due to the slick, cunning and devious manipulations of the DNC (Democratic National Committee), and their electoral, corporate media and big donor cohorts. Fulfilling his written agreement with the DNC prior to the primaries, Sanders had to endorse Hilary Clinton, the establishment nominee, and had to ask his supporters to do the same. The young people’s agonies over Sanders’ loss of the Democratic presidential nomination was shared and recorded by a Muslim author (Amriah Buang 2017):

Image result for images of  bernie sanders supporters at democratic convention
Image result for images of  bernie sanders supporters at democratic convention
Image result for images of  bernie sanders supporters at democratic convention
Image result for images of  bernie sanders supporters at democratic convention
Image result for images for bernie's supporters' against dnc

The young people’s dream of a Sanders presidency came alive when Sanders decided to run again for the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, still declaring himself as a democratic socialist. Once again, statistics show that the most avid supporters of a democratic socialist are the young Americans – the millennials and Gen Z: 

              Source: Staf W. Kight (28 October, 2019) https://www.axios.com/millennials-vote-socialism-capitalism-decline-60c8a6aa-5353-45c4-9191-2de1808dc661.html

At the moment of this writing it looks like the Democratic establishment is at its shenanigans again:

Source: Lisa Lerer and Reid J. Epstein (Feb. 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/politics/democratic-superdelegates.html

 and the young Americans are in for another set of bitter agonies.

But will they give up this second time around? Most probably not because the Bernie 2020 campaign is not about one individual but the whole of American nation.

# Not me us

“I relish the idea of defeating Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in history. But more importantly, I look forward to working with millions of you to create a government based on love and compassion, not hate and greed”.

  • Bernie Sanders, 1 February 2020

Source: https://www.facebook.com/berniesanders/videos/1267122760155002/

Young voters are notorious for not turning out to vote especially when they perceive the elections are rigged. This could be a recurrent setback in making America good again. But that does not mean the American youths are back to backing the same old, same old. 

Why? 

Because for one, young people of America have awakened from their ignorance to recognise the bad and ugly of status quo America and learn to see the sanity of making America moral and good again. 

And for another, because they are the generations that will be right at the receiving end of that ugly America if they do not really roll up their sleeves and change the state of their nation.  

REFERENCES:

Amriah Buang (2017), A tribute to progressive American millennials – the hope of American coming redemption. In Amriah Buang , The coming American redemption: A Muslim’s reading,  Artwrite Publishing, ISBN-10: 9671568009, ISBN-13: 978-9671568002,  available at https://www.amazon.com/Coming-American-Redemption-Trumps-America/dp/9671568009

Lisa Lerer and Reid J. Epstein (Feb. 27, 2020,Updated March 2, 2020),Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders,https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/politics/democratic-superdelegates.html

Staf W. Kight (28 October, 2019), 70% of millennials say they’d vote for a socialist, https://www.axios.com/millennials-vote-socialism-capitalism-decline-60c8a6aa-5353-45c4-9191-2de1808dc661.html

Amriah Buang

Amriah Buang was a Professor of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, who seeks to contribute to the democratization of knowledge. Mindful of the Islamic Khaldunian heritage in the genesis of modern social sciences and humanities, she strives to bring the non-secular conversation back in studying, understanding and addressing the human condition. An ardent believer in integrated, contextualised and holistic understanding of societies and civilizations, her research interests span economic, ethnological, ecological, development and gender issues and challenges. She has three decades of experience in social activism and is currently the President of IMAN (Interactive Muslimah Association). She is the founder of Negara Kita Tanggung Jawab Kita (Our Country Our Responsibility), a platform that seeks to bring Malaysians into the forefront of responsible nation stewardship.

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