After the election results were announced, I was surprised by the number of people posting doom and gloom. I read comments about how the outcome showed that we had lost faith in God as a country. People talked of Armageddon and the Mayan Calendar. You would have thought the world was ending. To me, it was the exact opposite. So I wrote the following:
This election gives me great hope in the upcoming generation.
For the recent past, our country has been led by greed and a concern for the NOW on every level. People tried to buy and “flip” houses to make a quick buck. The financial industry was led by increasingly complex transactions designed purely to leverage a profit without a care for the cost in human capital. People wanted lower and lower taxes without caring about the debt this was passing on to their children and grandchildren. We wanted cheap gas now regardless of the environmental costs and environmental problems that will come due in the future.
During difficult times in our past, we have come together as a country. People were willing to sacrifice personally during WWII, for example, to achieve a bigger common goal. Recently, however, as a society we became about “what’s in it for me”. And it lead to the greatest crisis in a generation – economically, socially, and on many levels.
But this upcoming generation has spoken. They are different. They aren’t as short-sighted as we have been:
- They care about the environment and looking towards the future, even if it might be a bit more costly or inconvenient now.
- They care about individual freedoms and allowing others to make choices that are right for them, without trying to impose their own ideals on someone else.
- They care about preserving societal safety nets to help the less fortunate among us, even if it might involve sacrificing a bit of their own choice
- They care about more financial equality, even if it might mean that their own taxes are a bit higher.
- On just about every level, things are improving: Teenage pregnancy rates are down; smoking rates are down; teenage rates of pre-marital sex are down; social awareness is increasing; etc.
So to me, it seems that our society is choosing values that recognize that we are in this together. In this particular election, the democratic party happened to more closely align with these values, and the younger generation turned out in droves to make their voice heard. This is a trend, and to the extent that either party responds to this in the future, they will succeed. To the extend that either party tries to go the other way and cut shared societal responsibilities and reward individual greed, they will fail.
I have great faith in humanity. I have great hope for our country. I have great admiration for our younger generation. I think we will grow as a people as we collectively come together. It may involve some personal sacrifice, but as the ocean rises, all boats go up.