Millennials lack political knowledge

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Millennials don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to politics: That’s not a harsh criticism, just a fair assessment. 

What is wrong with us? When dealing with my peers, that’s a question I seem to ask myself on a far too regular basis.

My generation seems detached, removed and even institutionalized by the social norm. Most millennials, including myself on occasion, are more concerned about the “turn up” or acting in a “savage” manner more than they are about serious issues that directly affect their lives. 

We are extremely uneducated on our nation’s political situations. In fact, according to a recent Reason Foundation Poll, approximately 77 percent of millennials couldn’t even name a senator from their home state. 

To test students’ awareness of their own government, I scoured campus for unsuspecting victims of this oh-so-very-tough question: Who is the current governor of Utah? 

I asked about 10 students the same question and received varying answers. Only two students were able to correctly identify the governor by his first and last name: Gary Herbert. One student answered, “I think it’s Harry or something,” another guessed “John Boner.” I’m assuming he meant John Boehner, the former U.S. Speaker of the House, who resigned from his position Oct. 29 due to recent controversy. 

If young people don’t know who their governor is, I think it’s safe to say they don’t know where he or she stands on key issues or how he or she represents their interests as U.S. citizens. 

Another prime example of this absence of knowledge is how we are treating the ongoing campaign for next year’s presidential election. 

Every time I log on to the breeding ground of ignorance that is modern social media, I see a lot of dialogue about today’s candidates. Something I don’t see is any actual policies or issues being discussed. 

We are so caught up in anticipation of what outrageous sound bite Donald Trump is going to provide next, what pantsuit Hillary Clinton will don for the debate, or how loud they have to turn up Ben Carson’s microphone, that we don’t pay attention to their actual qualifications or stances on important issues. 

Yes, Bernie Sanders does always looks like a bird stole his hat and he hasn’t realized it yet. Yes, that same bird has obviously woven some sort nest on top of Donald Trump’s head, but do you care? No, and if you do, you’re just feeding the problem because none of those things directly reflect his or her ability to hold public office. 

Instead, focus your efforts on doing your due diligence by researching the candidates, their backgrounds, intentions and policies. Care about something that actually matters for a change, and if you don’t care, then stop pretending you do. It’s political involvement week on campus, which gives you a chance to educate yourself, get involved and register to vote. If you forfeit the right to vote, you forfeit the right to complain.