Gen Z: a generation ready to save the nation

Caroline Goodhart

This year was the first time that I paid close attention to the election and was genuinely invested in its process and politics. However, as I watched the debates, rallies, social media posts and daily news coverage, insults and name-calling seemed to be the priority, with policies and respect for American democracy trailing behind. Even after President-elect Joe Biden secured his win, pessimistic thoughts flooded my mind. I wondered how the race had become so close between Biden and President Trump. The shreds of dignity, respect and patriotism that remained after the election were quickly drowned by Trump’s flood of accusations of cheating. As a member of the most progressive generation yet, Generation Z (Gen Z), born between 1997 and 2012, I find it difficult to admire current American politicians, especially those on the conservative side. Politicians should be honest figures that children can admire and learn from. However, our current leadership, namely President Donald Trump, has a corrupt perspective on democracy and does not model appropriate behavior for Gen Z individuals.

It is easy to spot the faults in these politicians, and my generation is ready to learn from their mistakes. Gen Z offers hope in this rocky political climate, as it is the most forward-thinking generation yet. 54 percent of Gen Z believe climate change is caused by human activity (Pew), and 88 percent believe that Black Americans are treated inferior to others (The Action Generation).
During the Vice Presidential Debate on Oct. 7, the U.S. saw an example of Gen-Z’s progressive perspective. Moderator Susan Page shared a question posed by an eighth-grader from Utah.



“‘When I watch the news, all I see are two candidates from opposing parties trying to tear each other down. If our leaders can’t get along, how are the citizens supposed to get along? How is your presidency going to unite and heal our country?’” Page said, quoting the student.

The answers to the question provided by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence were very general and didn’t offer any sort of solution to the disconnect between the political parties. However, it is apparent that young teens are concerned by the polarization of politics and are beginning to question the system enough to bring attention to it on a national level. Noticing the problem is the first step on the journey to a more peaceful political environment, and Gen Z is ready to lead the way.

In addition to acknowledging that politics have become a violent battleground, Gen Z is noticing something else: there are some topics we simply should not be arguing about. According to the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of Gen Z Republicans believe that the government should be doing more about climate change, compared to only 46 percent of the Baby Boomer generation. This is a step in the right direction for the members of a party whose leader has repeatedly called climate change a “hoax.”

Gen Z is also the most diverse generation the U.S. has ever seen. According to the same Pew Research study, only 52 percent of Gen Z is white, while 25 percent is Hispanic and 14 percent is Black. This is a huge increase in diversity, compared to Generation X and Baby Boomers where white people consist of 61 percent and 72 percent of each generation respectively. This diversity has led to greater awareness of racial injustice: according to a poll conducted by Business Insider, 90 percent of Gen Z support the Black Lives Matter movement. This landslide of support for racial equality and the effort to contribute to such a movement is a positive sign and hopefully means that Gen Z will have a colossal impact in fighting the systematic racism rooted deep in our country’s origins.

Currently, our political system seems to be in the middle of a tunnel, stuck fighting in the darkness. However, I believe that there is light at the end. As more Gen Z-ers become of voting age and run for public office, we will continue to make progress. Gen Z offers hope for the U.S. and will help create and preserve an equitable America, with more peaceful political climate, racial equality, and action to save the climate. With increased participation in a push for equality and justice, Gen Z can ameliorate America.