According to the Daily Bruin, 83 percent of Bruins cast their ballot for the president-elect and I assume, were elated when their candidate won. Thats awesome, everyones psyched, and the party poppers are still smoking from the celebration. But if you stop and think about it, you realize how strange this is for our generation.
Its one thing to wear an Obama T-shirt when he is the unsung hero or a candidate running for president. But now that he is firmly and resolutely entrenched in the system, would you still wear a T-shirt with our presidents name on it? It seems so strange to me.
We are called Generation Y by the powers that be. Most of the people in our generation supported the Democrats even when they couldnt vote, and now we tend to punch our ballots in that direction. Now that our guy is in the White House, how quickly can we switch our mental state from being anti-establishment to rah rah Mr. President?
I was in the eighth grade when Bush first was elected into office. Our history teacher had us create posters for the candidate we liked and debate the issues with the opponents supporters. Im not sure which issues we dug up at the tender age of 13, but I remember running around with a Gore sign that day. Ever since then, being pro-president has just seemed like an odd thing.
Young voters showed up in energetic droves and, more often than not, we voted for the senator from Illinois. Going by the statistics, it seems like we have spent most of our politically aware time in this world really going against the current president. Conversely, we now celebrate the president-to-be. It is a huge change in our mentality and in our outlook toward the government of our nation, and its a change that is not as easy to make as you think.
For example, rampant criticism of President George W. Bush has now given way to the gleeful worshipping of President-elect Barack Obama. People really believe that he will fix the Middle East, cool global warming, boost the economy and maybe even take a crack at colonizing other planets.
After grumbling and groaning for years, we are suddenly dusting off our pom-poms and waving them in favor of the government. Will we step up to the plate when it comes time to call out our hero on any of his mistakes (he wont make any of course, not Obama, not him) or when policies dont go as planned?
This is a strange mantle of responsibility for us. We are soon going to be a part of the work force the actual world where bills, mortgages and babies exist. Can we still be the same Generation Y that had everyone slightly intimidated by our attitude? USA Today featured an article about Gen Y in the workplace and pegged us as the ones who were groomed to take over corporate America.
Apparently, weve had all the privileges and benefits of schooling and great boomer parents. We are techy people, and we use much of that knowledge to criticize or analyze our authority figures.
We voted our guy into the highest office in the country, and we owe it to ourselves to hold him to the same high standards that other generations see us holding ourselves to. We have inherited a lot of problems from the generation before us everyone does, but its possible that our plate is exceptionally full. In addition, we have to come to terms with the fact that our role in counterculture has ended.
During the Vietnam War, people our age got angry and showed up in unpreedented numbers to vote Lyndon B. Johnson out of office. Trying to get out of a similar war, we also used the power of the ballot. I am excited to see the next four years unfold, but its going to be hard to suddenly start supporting the president and watching for his successes instead of hoping he doesnt further damage the situation.
I had friends in Belgium, Germany and England watching the election, and they all stayed up during the early hours of their respective mornings to watch the outcome of our race. Never have I seen so many people around the world so interested by what some anchorperson had to say about electoral votes.
Its not just us who are going to have to get used to a new attitude toward our country and president, many people around the world are in the same boat as well. Heres to hoping that the transitional voyage will be without icebergs and that we come out on the other side with a healthy appetite for criticism and an equally healthy amount of respect and affection for the man we elected.