Annie Wu Henry is a young progressive activist who has become increasingly disillusioned with the Democratic establishment. In her mind, Democrats are falling short in addressing the country\’s affordability crisis, eliminating student debt, protecting the rights of immigrants and LGBTQ Americans, and ensuring access to abortion. Worse, she said, they seem to have no viable strategy for accomplishing what they promised, let alone what the country needs. \”We tell them our ideas, and they tell us their plans,\” Wu said, talking about the strategic difference between herself and older generations of Democrats. \”But their plans don\’t seem to be working.\”
Wu is part of a growing cohort of young Americans with little or no memory of when America worked for them. For Wu and her peers, the past two decades have been a period of economic decline and political dysfunction. And they are increasingly sceptical that the current system can be fixed.
\”I don\’t think people my age have any faith in our institutions,\” Wu said. \”We don\’t trust the government; we don\’t trust the media, we don\’t trust corporations. I think there\’s a general feeling that the system is rigged against us.\”
This lack of faith in America\’s institutions has led to a sense of powerlessness among many young people. And it has contributed to a growing sense of despair about the future.
\”I feel like I\’m stuck in this cycle of just trying to survive,\” Wu said. \”I don\’t feel like I have any control over my life or future. And I think that\’s true for many people my age.\”
The sense of powerlessness and despair that Wu and her peers feel is not unique to them. It is, in fact, a common theme among young people across the world. A recent study found that young people in advanced economies are significantly more likely than their elders to believe that their societies are heading in the wrong direction.
However, one major exception to this trend is the United States. Despite their challenges, young American people remain remarkably optimistic about their country\’s future.
A recent poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans between 18 and 29 believe the country is heading in the right direction. This is in stark contrast to other advanced economies, where youth dissatisfaction with the status quo is at an all-time high.
What explains this discrepancy? Why are American young people so much more optimistic about their country\’s future than their counterparts in other advanced economies?
Part of the answer may lie in the unique history of the United States. America has always been a land of opportunity; anyone can make it if they\’re willing to work hard. This idea has been a powerful source of motivation for generations of Americans, including Wu and her peers.
\”I think part of it is just how we\’re raised, with this idea that America is the land of opportunity,\” Wu said. \”No matter how bad things are, we always believe that things can get better. I think that\’s what keeps us going.\”
It is also worth noting that, despite all the challenges they face, American young people are still doing better than their counterparts in other advanced economies. Incomes are higher, unemployment is lower, and poverty rates are lower.
There is no doubt that American young people have much to worry about. But they also have a lot to be hopeful for. And as long as they maintain their optimism, there is reason to believe that the future of America will be bright.
What do you think? Do you agree with Wu that the current system isn\’t working? Do you think things can get better? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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