The crippling issue of Gen Z and politics

Gen Z was introduced to politics at the wrong time.


Image courtesy of Devn on Unsplash.

Generation Z is the generation born from 1990 until 2010. For most Gen Z kids, the 2020 election was their first introduction to politics. Unfortunately, Gen Zers were introduced to politics at the wrong time mainly because of the political divide that swept over 2020. 

Gen Zers started to pay attention to politics in 2020  because it was not only an election year, but it was also the year where politics played a great role in the response to Covid-19, Black Lives Matter, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and more. 

Most of Gen Z has different ideals than the ideals of the Republican party and President Trump in regards to their response to these crucial issues. Gen Z’s distaste towards Republicans mainly sprouted because of the leader who represented them, President Trump.

Pew Research Center conducted a survey in January 2021 concluding that “about a quarter of registered voters ages 18 to 23 (22%) approved of how Donald Trump is handling his job as President, while about three-quarters disapproved (77%).”

The incredibly low percentage of Gen Z Trump Supporters goes to show the large population of Gen Zers that dislike the way President Trump has handled his presidency. 

Image courtesy of Kyle Ryan on Unsplash.

For months on end, videos about President Trump and his responses to Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter swept the platform of Tik Tok. Angry Gen Zers took revenge on Trump by working together to help organize plans to sabotage the President in many different ways. 

There were movements on Tik Tok where Gen Zers would reserve a seat at President Trump’s rallies with the full intention of not showing up. This left President Trump humiliated at many of his rallies

Gen Z lashing out against President Trump only worsened when the President aimed to ban the Tik Tok app. Many of the Gen Z kids believed it was due to the organizations that were developing on the app against President Trump. 

The President said his ban against Tik Tok was “due to national security concerns.” 

Tik Tok is a Chinese app which is the reason why President Trump has labeled it as a “national security” threat. 

Anyway, it is safe to say that a large margin of Gen Z does not like President Trump. 

Now, here is the problem with Gen Zers and politics: Gen Z refuses to look at the opposing side. 

Gen Z is built the way that they are because they were introduced into politics with a leader who responded to Black Lives Matter protests by saying it was a “symbol of hate,” and a leader who made the headlines almost every day because of something radical he did or said. 

Unfortunately for Gen Z, this was an awful introduction to politics. 

President Trump played a key role in dividing the country and especially the younger generation in terms of political parties. 

In polls out of 235 Gen Zers, 44% of Gen Zers said that after they had a political conversation with someone else, the other person ended up blocking them. Also, 60% of the respondents believe that Gen Z does not make an effort to actively look at their opposing party’s political views. In contrast, 90% of the respondents believed that they personally look at their opposing party’s political views. 

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In argument, this elevates another problem with Gen Z: the enormous ego Gen Z has created for themselves. The fact that some respondents said that they believe they actively look at their opposing party’s political views and then proceeded to say that Gen Z, as a whole, does not make an effort to see their opposition’s views shows a larger problem of ego and lack of humility. Gen Zers appear to think highly of themselves in terms of acceptance of their opposing party’s beliefs, but then claim that Gen Zers as a whole refuse to see the opposing side. 

Clearly, the Gen Z population values their ego to an extent that they are incapable of letting go of this ego and accepting humility for their actions by refusing to look at their opposition’s point of view. This all proves that Gen Z refuses to look at the opposing side. 

A junior at A-West, David Rhoades comments, “I just think that there are very few people that will actually listen anymore. The world, society, and Gen Z have all ‘evolved’ to a point where if someone does not have the same view as you, they are wrong no matter what. If people are hearing what they don’t want to hear then they close their ears and open their mouths and start claiming that the other side is wrong and their own side is right all the time.”

Information gathered from a survey where Gen Zers were asked whether they make it a point to actively post their political opinion on their social media revealed a plethora of different responses. 

Some Gen Zers claim that they try to actively post their political beliefs on social media because “silence is complicity” and some people don’t “inform themselves.” Other Gen Zers choose not to post on social media because their “opinions are not supported by the majority” and they are scared of “receiving hate.” 

In a way, Gen Zers are hypocrites. They expect people to “educate” themselves to better understand their personal point of view and then refuse to even consider their opposition’s point of view. Gen Z needs to work to consider the other side in an effort to make a large societal change for posterity.

A-West Junior Ethan Cowan states, “I oftentimes get into political arguments with my hard-core [political party] friend. I tried to get him to come to an agreement so that we could move past our discussion, but it would never work.” 

The only time a political conversation is successful is when the people in the conversation support the same party or are willing to see both perspectives.  

Image courtesy of Clay Banks on Unsplash.

The issue is now, how will Gen Z get away from believing that you can “only support one side?” 

Gen Z needs to work to begin to gain enough perspective to understand that they can support some beliefs of one party and some beliefs of the other party. Ideally, throughout time and a President who hopefully won’t make the headlines every day, Gen Z will begin to gain some perspective. 

In continuation, another problem arises in correlation to Gen Z refusing to gain perspective: the immense hate Gen Zers now have for the people who support their opposition’s beliefs. 

Gen Z needs to understand that there is good and bad in every political situation. This means that Gen Z cannot just decide that all Republicans are bad and all Democrats are good. Each side does not get a title of “good” or “bad”. Each side is both good and bad combined and the only “good” is realizing that you must take the positives, or what one agrees with, from each political party. 

Gen Z must begin to change together as a generation as a whole or else our country will only continue to divide more. 

As senior Ava Hines from Golden High School states, “There is no right or wrong, only one’s perception.”