Last week I had a post about the Millennials, their tremendous potential for good in this country, and how advocates for social justice can build on their promise. I’ve been doing some more research, both about the characteristics and conditions of this generation, and about their public opinion preferences, and I’ve been thinking about what a social policy agenda for this “Millennial Era” (as it’s called in Millenial Makeover) would look like.
What excites me the most? How much potential for overlap there is with My Top 10 Things we Should be Thinking about in 2010 list. Maybe there’s hope for me being an ‘honorary Millennial’ after all!
But the greatest lesson for this whole exercise, I think, is how we can learn to talk and think like Millennials regardless of our particular policy priorities, in order to both gain new perspectives on our issues and also to increase the likelihood that they’ll gain support from this large and increasingly influential cohort. Below are some of the values and concerns that the authors identified in Millennial Makeover, with my take on how to frame social work policy priorities to align with them:
The Millennial Makeover ends like this (I couldn’t fall asleep for hours later!):
“The tectonic plates undergirding America’s political landscape are beginning to shift. The resulting cataclysm will wash away the current politics of polarization and ideological deadlock, putting in place a new landscape of collective purpose and national consensus that involved individuals and communities in solving the nation’s problems” (p. 267).
I don’t know about you, but this is one wave I really want to ride. I apologize in advance to my kids’ babysitters for the dozens of questions I will ask you about your political beliefs when you’re just trying to get out the door, to my neighbors’ kids for asking them which issue frame most appeals to them, and to the random young people on campus I stop to ask you how you think the Obama Administration is handling xyz issue. It’s just that, well, I think you’re kind of a big deal. And so should we all.
I’d love to see examples of how these issues and perspectives of Millennials are (or are not) reflected in this 2010 election season. A special treat awaits those who comment with links to political advertisements or other analysis of how candidates, parties, and/or nonpartisan groups are framing their priorities along these lines, and/or actively reaching out to Millennials in pursuit of their common policy agendas!