Gen Z can put an end to performative politics

Iqra Rafey/The Cougar

Generation Z is proving themselves to be more critical of the government than any generation before it which can end performative politics.

By prioritizing accountability and holding a more headstrong attitude towards their politics, Gen Z is placing the power of democracy back into the complete control of the people, the same fundamental value the U.S. was founded on.

Throughout the course of America’s history, politicians have dangled false promises amongst the heads of their constituents. 

This has slowed progression, as the people are not actually having their voices heard and concerns addressed. However, this practice, known as performative politics, may not be as common in the near future. 

As the first generation to have grown up without knowing what the world was like prior to the major technological shift, technology is now constantly at Gen Z’s fingertips. 

This has shaped their overall perception of the world and given them the ultimate advantage when it comes to advocating for change. 

Media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have allowed people to post in real time when these events take place, as well as their own personal feelings on the matter. 

This has also effectively mobilized Gen Z to take action and speak out against various issues, especially ones that personally threaten their freedoms and way of life.

Growing up in a post-9/11 world with economic downturn, countless school shootings, the devastating effects of climate change and now a pandemic that has created greater paranoia about the future, Gen Z is more dedicated to taking matters into their own hands when it comes to their future. 

Through advocacy groups like GenZForChange, rallying and even supporting specific politicians in elections, Gen Z is beginning to shape American politics as more of them become old enough to vote and have noticeable influence. 

It is estimated that in 2024, Gen Z and Millennials will match the older generations in the voting age population.

One can easily see why Gen Z is frustrated, just by looking at the demographics of Congress. A whopping 86 percent of the House of Representatives and 88 percent of the Senate are Baby Boomers and Gen X, compared to eight percent and one percent of members of each respective chamber being Millennials. 

This means that there is a huge discrepancy between the desires of the people, where now more than 50 percent of the population is made up of millennials, Gen Z and beyond. 

The older and younger generations tend to heavily disagree on many issues, most recently being gun control and access to abortion. 

Over half of the U.S. population is not being properly represented. Distaste is evident, as Congress’ approval rating fell to a low 18 percent in January 2022.

“As someone who is relatively politically informed thanks to social media, I try to place trust in politicians who claim to work for us,” said mechanical engineering sophomore Mateo Cannata. “However, it is hard to do considering a majority of them grew up in a completely different America than we are currently living in.”

“They grew up in a time where minimum wage jobs could actually pay for their education, and where their degree practically guaranteed them a job straight out of college. We either have to live with our parents or put most of our earnings towards rising expenses,” he added.

The change that Gen Z is bringing is already noticeable. 

They are fizzling out support for more established political figures for what they claim as more seemingly authentic politicians who communicate with their constituents on a personal level, such as AOC. 

Gen Z candidates are also beginning to run for public office, as the upcoming 2022 midterm elections see Maxwell Alejandro Frost and Karoline Leavitt, both only 25, running for Congress. 

Running on opposite sides of the aisle, they represent a uniquely Gen Z mindset when it comes to the current regressive polarized state: reluctance to settle for less than demanded.

Michael King is a political science sophomore who can be reached at [email protected]

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