The World is Changing, We Need to Change With it

Posted by zoe b. Michigan

The older generation is the largest percent of the voter turnout but the younger voters need help. People need to be willing and able to change their views of freedom to adapt to the ever changing world we live in.

I was really intrigued to do some research on the topic of views on freedom when I came across an article about Ancient Greece. In the article “The Definition of Our Freedom has Changed. Here’s How,” by Scotty Hendricks, the French philosopher Ben Constant said, “For the citizens in ancient times ...the freedom part was the act of voting. After that, little was assured.” As an American today it’s hard to see freedom as anything less than : Religion, Assembly, Press, Protest, and Speech. People’s views on the meaning of freedom differs based on where they’re from and how they were raised, but people need to be able to alter that perception based on the ever-changing world we live in. The American understanding of freedom is greatly different than the ancient Greeks; our views are greatly different then our founding fathers. My views are different then my grandparents', or even my parents'.

People’s views of freedom typically manifest themselves into their political ideologies, ands they do change throughout their lifetimes. In a chart from the Pew Research Center; it is shown that, as of 2014, 18-29 year olds are more majority moderate in their ideologies. Then, as the voters get older, the majority splits and gravitates towards the two extremes. Drew Desilver, conductor of the research, categorize the voting population as either Solid Liberals, Faith & Family Left, Next Gen. Left, Hard Pressed Skeptics, Youth Outsiders, Business Conservatives, or Steadfast Conservatives. Voters in the 18-29 group gravitate towards either Next Gen. Left or Young Outsiders, while once voters reach the 65+ group they’ve settled in either Solid Liberals or Steadfast Conservatives. This trend shows that people's views change over the course of their lives. This article also shows there are generational differences between parents and their children, and their children and so on and so forth. The reasoning for this change could be seen in the occurrence of new issues that the younger generations hold more stake in then the older ones.

A large division in political views that has more recently been a larger issue on the table is that of abortion. While showing a more overt divide between left and right, it also is bringing out an underlying connection between certain categories. Abortion is most strongly opposed by anyone of a strong Christian or Catholic faith, and there are followers of those faiths on both sides on the political spectrum. More specifically, the “faith and family left” and “steadfast conservatives”. These two groups are a larger percent of the population because they’re occupied by the older generations. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center one in every five women will be raped in their lifetimes. In conjunction to that, according to RAINN (rape, abuse, and incest national network) Americans ages 12-24 are at the highest risk of being raped; and it is 83% less likely for someone from 25-49 to be raped, and 91% less likely for someone over 65. So if you take out the people at the highest risk who aren’t of voting age you have people from ages of 18-24, that’s a very small percent of the voter turnout compared to the age range of everyone 25 and up. RAINN estimates there are 250,000 rapes each year of women of childbearing age, this in accompaniment with any other situation which could result in unexpected pregnancy leaves that 18-24 group the most likely to need an abortion in their lifetimes. Sadly this group, as previously mentioned is overruled by the majority of voters being older. The ability to at some point get an abortion is far more necessary to this younger group, so the older voters need to change their perceptions to support the younger voters as well as the people in these situations who can’t vote for themselves.

People have had to change their views to help others out through a lot of American history. In January of 1865 the 13th Amendment was officially passed and slavery was abolished. This amendment changes the lives of those former slaves, who were for the most part African American. Since those African Americans were either enslaved or freed but with no rights to vote, the amendment was passed by the white property owning men of the house and senate. Those men, many of which many have owned slaves or had family who had owned slaves, had to change their perceptions and support those African Americans who couldn’t vote for themselves. Same as in 1920 when the 19th amendment was passed, which allowed (white) women the right to vote. The voting men of American had to expand their perceptions of freedom to include women into who should be able to vote to pass this amendment.

Another issue more relevant to younger generations is that of climate change. According to NASA, Carbon Dioxide is 410 ppm of the air, the highest in the last 650,000 years. The global temperature has gone up 1.9℉ since 1890. This might not seem like a lot but it’s causing glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise. While older individuals, especially the 65+ age group, might not be as invested in the planet’s health seven or eight decades from now; they need to band with the younger generations and vote for actions and bills that will help save the earth. By the time the generations whole will be living in that world decades from now can actually vote for themselves, our planet may be beyond repair.

Our world is constantly changing and people need to be willing to change with it. Stinging too true to your definition of “Free” could eventually harm someone, so as Americans we need to be willing to embrace these changes and see them as bettering our nation. Weather it be to make change, like the 13th and 19th amendments; or stop change, like global warming or making abortions illegal. The ability to have and exercise all the great american freedoms should be one that belongs to all americans. 

Published on May 24, 2019
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