American millennials tend to forget that freedom is not free. And recent trends indicate that they may be sacrificing their freedoms without realizing the cost.
Conflicts on college campuses show that some millennials are willing to abandon basic constitutional rights. Free speech is one example: many choose to become politically illiterate, or take no side, to avoid controversies. Further, Pew Research shows that 40% of millennials are okay with speech censorship when expression “could be offensive to minorities.”
With this abandonment of rights, some millennials are abandoning the right to vote. Only 46% of millennials voted in the 2012 election. Further, a recent study conducted by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) shows that millennial voter turnout for Hillary Clinton was less than turnout for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Millennials voted 55% Democrat, 37% Republican, and 8% third party (a 5% increase from past elections). An estimated half of eligible voters cast ballots in 2016, but that statistic remains well below the national average.
Millennials who disregard the right to vote are shooting themselves in the foot. Further, progressive millennials who are now arguing over the results of the election, but didn’t vote, have missed the most basic point of elections. It’s is like yelling at your mother because she put the cookies away, but you never asked for one in the first place.
But millennials’ challenges go well beyond voting. Millennials know what the Constitution is, but don’t truly understand its importance. Socialism is a growing trend among younger college age voters. The ideas of Karl Marx and Lenin are more palatable than those of the “evil white racist men” who founded this country.
In a 2016 YouGov poll, 24% said that socialism was somewhat favorable, and 5% said that it was very favorable. Compiling these results, 29% of those polled felt positively towards socialism, while 30% felt very unfavorably. Andrew Mark Miller from CDN had some strong words in his analysis of millennials:
Young people today believe that socialism is cool, our founding document should be altered in order to not hurt anyone’s feelings and that a television star is a member of the most powerful governing body in the land.
While millennials may think Marx is cool, it’d be entirely different if they had to live in communism. Venezuela is an excellent example, as its residents are hunting dogs and cats to survive.
Without exposure to facts like these, the fate of Venezuela may come to America. Millennials’ political illiteracy largely stems from a university system that takes advantage of students, shoving liberal ideology down their throats as if it is science.
Ultimately, the future of this nation hinges on the civic engagement of our generation. Freedom is not free, and we can lose it. If America chooses to follow the path of apathy, communism, and anti-patriotism, freedom will be lost.