I have given some thought trying to figure out how to solve the social, economic, and political resistance against Climate Change and correcting the inequities that exists in society especially as related to younger people. It seems progress in America takes forever even when it is at crisis levels other then war. In California we have a housing crisis largely with the young employees unable to find affordable housing near work. But even our liberal Democratic majority legislators are having difficulties passing badly needed legislation to solve a statewide crisis. At the federal level Climate Change legislation is not supported by half of Congress and the President. So our federal government is ignoring the urgent warnings from the scientific community of the long term increasing threats to life and property posted by Climate Change. it’s the same with gun control, health care, college tuition, and a host of other important issues.
What I see from this is that various levels of government are run predominantly by people over the ages of 50. Most people in political power are also people of means, owners of property, and have good paying jobs. There are many advanced seniors in positions of power running our various levels of government. These older people largely represent those of their generation and the political establishment. They have less tendency to be forward looking other than towards their retirements with some notable exceptions. Regardless of which party they belong to they really represent the sentiments of their generation.
That presents a conflict of priorities when dealing with the needs and issues of younger people or dealing with the issues of the more distant future of our communities, nation, and planet. When wars are declared by the elders, who must fight them but our young. It is little skin off their backs to place our young troops in harms way. Medical care is already provided to them and their families so it is not a difficult decision to place it lower in priorities to the other more pressing issues from their perspective. Homelessness is a problem but must not impact their constituent homeowners. Education is expensive but college students can always get a student loan and not worry about tuition or paying it back until much Late. More affordable housing is a problem for young people but what is the rush by people over 50 who already own their own homes and are in charge of making the decisions. Climate Change is urgent according to scientists but it will have minimal impacts on those over 50 so what is the urgency? Then there is gun control. Who gets shot the most? Young people or older people?
Do you see the pattern that is emerging? Our government consists largely of people over 50 who serve their voting constituents and generation whom they relate most. The young don’t normally vote or get involved in politics. Yes they demonstrate but the bottom line is that they have little political power or representation. So they consistently get the short end of the stick from their governments.
That has to end if the word is to survive. Older intrenched senior leadership have too much self interests to see beyond their tunnel vision. We need new leadership and fresh eyes to see beyond the tunnels of power and influence. But that can only happen if the younger generation steps up to the plate and cast their ballots en masse. I believe that 16 year olds should be given the right to vote so that they can learn how to register and vote while in high school. I am sure most are as qualified as older voters to make the right decisions. It is up to our youth to quickly come of age and responsibility to determine their own destinies. No one else is going to do it for them.