A Note to Fellow Millennials During Political Season


Living in the Information Age, we find ourselves facing a time where rapid communication allows for the dissemination of ideas at one click. Like pollen blowing in the midafternoon winds of Spring, facts and opinions travel across the various sources of media and plant ideas in our mind.

I find myself fortunate to be a youth during this time, because there is a sense of empowerment in knowing that as individuals, we have a public forum at our fingertips. It is comforting to know that we are one Google search away from immediate access to more information than could have been ever imagined during our parents' time.

Forms of communication, such as Youtube videos, blog posts, Twitter and even our traditional mass media outlets give us a freedom to express our thoughts and to build personal brands out of ourselves. As a millennial and a blogger, I consider this fantastic for encouraging dialogue.

But, we forget, that this age of digital news sharing and abundance of options comes with a cost. Now we must filter through the information to distinguish for ourselves what is the truth.

What happens when news of valid importance is overshadowed by news that is simply the most dramatic? What happens when the language we use to discuss serious current events, such as political policies, the economy, education, and innovation, become lost in cyclical debates promoting fear?

Well, for one, we constantly find ourselves divided by opinions we can't understand and facts we don't want to accept. As a millennial Iranian-American with a background in international relations, I find myself engaged by the recent political climate -- much of which has centered around the Iran Deal.

I listen attentively to debates, whether I agree with them or not, because I know I have much to learn. I want to understand. I want to remain open-minded and prevent my personal bias from affecting how I engage in my relationships with peers who I respect but may disagree with.

Yet, even with these conscious efforts, I can't help but feel that our political discussions and news media coverage have become centered around so much aggression and hostility.

We have public figures giving ultimatums, accusing one another, and referring to anyone who does not agree with their campaign as the "enemy." Even now that the Iran Deal has passed, we still have influential people address an entire country that we are trying to promote diplomatic relations with as an "enemy." The ripple effect of all this heated discourse leads to viewers reacting out of anger, fear, and frustration.

The Iran Deal is not the only tense subject. This pattern of hostile opinions applies to every major issue from abortion to immigration.

As a young individual observing all of this and thinking of the future of our society, I worry that the many voices of reason -- the many voices encouraging unity, diplomacy and peace -- struggle to be heard in all the hysteria.

Controversy, after all, sells. I get it.

People cannot be forced to change their mind if they wish to cling to their own biases, but as for my fellow millennials, we should know better. Consider the history of a topic; take the time to do some research before jumping to conclusions. Information is splashed everywhere, but we need to get pass the surface level and dive deeper for facts.

Living in a globalized world with so many significant changes on the horizon, we now have the opportunity to move forward with compassion and diplomacy. We can choose to engage in dialogue that lifts humanity, instead of dialogue that tries to win votes by implementing fear.

The beauty of America lies in its diversity. Let's not forget that before any of us are politicians, advocates or journalists -- we are all humans. As millennials, our language can be powerful and our choices do matter. Let's use them to promote good.