I hate to break it to you, fellow college students and young people, but I think we’re all doomed. Well, perhaps not, but that was my first impression when I opened my email inbox on Monday of last week. All too often, I briefly glance through my email account and unless an email superficially looks important, I delete it. However, last week, I was quite disturbed when something caught my eye in an email from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
NSCS is a collegiate honors organization with chapters in hundreds of campuses all around the county. I receive weekly emails from them regarding scholarship and volunteer opportunities. Usually, I don’t spend too much time on the emails, but the newsletter I received last week drew my attention. The first announcement in the email was for something called #FixYoungAmerica. As a college student concerned about the unemployment crisis for people in my age group, I was immediately intrigued. #FixYoungAmerica is a nationwide social media and campus campaign cosponsored by NSCS designed to combat the “epidemic of youth unemployment” in America. It’s a campaign designed to teach entrepreneurship to young Americans in the hopes of “rebuilding the American dream.” Sounds good, right? However, the means to which they want to accomplish their goal are a bit unsettling. Who’s the key to solving youth unemployment, you may ask? None other than Stephen Colbert.
Yes, America, Stephen Colbert holds the key to solving the unemployment crisis in this nation. Well, at least according to the #FixYoungAmerica campaign. On April 19th, over 300 campuses in all 50 states will be holding rallies designed to “recruit” comedian Stephen Colbert to the cause of #FixYoungAmerica. I’d go to the rally at St. Louis University, but I’ll be busy trying to avoid unemployment after graduation by working on a term paper for one of my classes.
Getting a celebrity to support a cause you believe in is sometimes a good idea in regards to marketing, but that’s not entirely what the #FixYoungAmerica campaign has in mind. They actually label Stephen Colbert “an American hero.” What has Stephen Colbert done to achieve such a status? Tell a few off-color jokes about conservatives in an attempt to literally make right-leaning Americans a joke? For the majority of liberal students and professors on college campuses, perhaps that is heroic. However, I’m still confused why the National Society of Collegiate Scholars is supporting an event that puts a comedian on such a pedestal. Why not invite a celebrity whose status is relevant to their campaign. Bill Gates or Warren Buffet? I many not agree with their politics, but at least inviting entrepreneurs to a rally to “Fix Young America” makes sense.
I have two major issues with this campaign. First, as alluded to before, calling Stephen Colbert an “America hero” is somewhat despicable. What did he do to be put alongside of people like George Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.? Calling a liberal comedian a national hero dilutes the phrase itself. If Stephen Colbert is an American hero, then the standard to achieve this title must be much lower than I thought.
Second, how is the #FixYoungAmerica campaign supposed to solve unemployment? They list goals on their website (i.e. student loan forgiveness), but do not provide any actual solutions to the problem. Under the “How Will We Achieve Success Together?” section, the site lists things like getting support from major US corporations asking for “proven solutions” from individuals and companies all around the country. They also allude to a book that the campaign is working on that will supposedly contain such “proven solutions,” but as of yet I haven’t seen any solutions listed on their website. I did particularly enjoy, however, one phrase in their campaign: “#FixYoungAmerica is not some utopian dream. This a series of proven, realistic and possible goals worth fighting for. From the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street to the SOPA and PIPA protests, we’ve seen the power of what like-minded individuals can achieve.” Congratulations young Americans, you’ve now achieved the ranks of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. Oh and don’t forget Stephen Colbert. You must be so proud.
If this campaign is representative of the mindset of most young Americans, then we are truly all doomed. Granted, perhaps it will reveal some magical solutions to the unemployment crisis in the future, but right now, it just looks like a social media campaign with no substance. It’s also impossible for me to take seriously when their desired front man is Stephen Colbert. However, despite my criticism of this campaign and it’s reflection of an uncomfortably large mindset on college campuses, I do have some hope. I tend to believe that we’re not all actually doomed. Organizations like The College Conservative give me hope that there are still some college students left who have not been corrupted by the irrational liberalism that runs rampant on our college campuses. I do believe that there is more to saving “Young America” than simply recruiting Stephen Colbert to the cause. For example, why don’t we start with the health care mandate? Forcing employers to provide healthcare to all employees drives up costs and provides less money to support employee salaries. Should the Obamacare mandate not be struck down, it’s likely that many companies will experience mass layoffs. Now that’s something Young America should be talking about instead. We need real solutions to youth unemployment, not entertaining fluff and meaningless slogans.