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July 30, 2014

Under the Outhouse for July 31, 2014

Surge politics columnist signs off with parting wisdom for millennials

This is the last edition of Under the Outhouse for Weekly Surge. Moving outside of South Carolina makes it increasingly difficult to stay on top of South Carolina news, so as short-lived as it was, this column must come to a close. Hopefully you, the reader, found it enjoyable, and perhaps somewhat useful in heated barstool debates. At the very least, maybe it helped you pass the time in the outhouse.

My primary purpose at the outset of this column, which began in January, was not to serve as a public whipping post for Republicans who act like Democrats, or Democrats who, well, act like Democrats. It was, at its core, to get people to think; to question the so-called “truth” spun by highly paid PR flacks for politicians and special interests group. Older Americans have become far too lazy with their willingness to ask questions. They are far more comfortable sitting back and swallowing the talking points handed to them.

What has this led to? One of the most inept and corrupt Presidents in American history whose political party dare not say anything for fear of hurting their chances in the next election. Republicans, in turn, have been paralyzed by an internal civil war as the conservative base rebels against a party leadership which abandoned its core values during the previous administration, never regaining its credibility. And, with two major elections right around the corner, both parties will be even more reluctant to make the hard compromises necessary to begin solving all the problems mounting across the nation, and the world.

Then again, there is also much to be optimistic about.

A survey of 2,000 young adults aged 18 to 29 conducted by The Reason Foundation earlier this year finds that today’s so called “millennials” are increasingly socially liberal, and fiscally centrist; they also lean more fiscally conservative as they become more educated, and make more money. More importantly, this generation is highly suspicious of both political parties. The failures of both parties have made America’s youth more pro-business, but with big hearts, who reject the power cartels that dominate the political process.

This is why -- even in the face of NSA spying, IRS corruption, Benghazi cover-ups, skyrocketing debt, the TSA, crackdowns on Uber, two forgotten wars -- I remain hopeful for America’s future.

It is an exciting time to be a young adult active in politics. The opportunities to make a difference are limitless, especially as individual issues become more important than partisan power struggles. We are also proving to be infinitely more agile at organizing than the aged establishment. The dominance of social media in how millennials communicate makes it possible to form broad coalitions from coast to coast almost overnight, taking advantage of the moment’s zeitgeist for maximum effect.

We’re also big givers despite a reputation for being self-absorbed narcissists. “Young adults are a huge force in what we do – whether it’s advocacy, volunteering or fundraising,” says World Vision Gift Catalog Specialist Cheryl DeBruler. “They’re a case study of compassion in action.” The numbers speak for themselves. According to a 2013 survey from World Vision, 56 percent of young men ages 18 to 34 have given a charitable gift, compared to just 36 percent of men older than 35.

This makes young adults a lethal weapon in politics, which has yet to realize its full potential. We are highly motivated, well organized, extremely communicative, and not afraid to open our wallets in support of important issues -- in spite of facing a bleak outlook on employment. It is only a matter of time before this enthusiasm for social causes bleeds into the political process. All it will take is the right candidate, not even the right party.

The best advice for this generation is to keep the spirit of intellectual curiosity alive. Stay engaged. Ask questions. Demand answers. Reject conformity. Embrace truth, not just the so called “reality” spun by the political elite. Do this, and we will avoid all the pitfalls of our parents’ generation, and may once again find ourselves represented by political leaders who care more about the future of the nation than the outcome of the next election.

Good luck.

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