Polls and primaries have shown presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to be popular with millennials. It would be easy to write this off as an immature response from over idealistic young people being choked up by pipedream promises. Yet the message Sen. Sanders presents is being lived heavily by the millennial generation. They are a generation that earns less than their parents did at the same age, a generation that volunteered to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a generation that is sacked with a mountain of college debt amid a slow recovery.
Again it would be easy to say that millennials are just wanting a participation trophy. The reality though is that American society has become unjust and a responsible citizen would see that action needs to be taken now. Income inequality is not simply a reaction by some who think money is unfairly shared in society. Inequality leads to a lack of opportunity. Correcting income inequality allows people to do for themselves. It is not a state sponsored charity program, but providing access to employment that supports healthy individuals and families.
Income inequality is the recognition of childhood poverty in America, the recognition that full time employment does not guarantee healthy food for families, the recognition that overtime is really required to make ends meet, or the recognition that there are more backdoor subsidies and tax loopholes than the average person can count. Solving income inequality is not a manifesto where a pile of money is divided up the same for everyone. It is a push for what is opportunistically fair. For example, many millennials did work hard for a post-secondary education where many worked to pay for or took on a stack of debt. They are looking for work that is strenuous to find and sometimes not there.
It moves beyond income inequality though. There is inequality in the way veterans are being treated by the VA. There is inequality when a state government poisons Flint with lead. It is unequal for police forces to be so stressed financially that it limits the community mission they seek to fulfill. No matter who someone is, where they come from, or how they fill out their census form people should be treated fairly. The sign of a great society is how it treats all people. Fairness is only subjective to those who are taking advantage of inequality and refuse to do something about it.
Bernie Sanders is more than a representation for an agitated populous, but an enduring politician whose issues have become the forefront of a nation. Sanders has ignited millennials beyond the youthful mind grasping progressivism and shown there is a another way to run the country they love. Critics, within the Democratic party, calmly explain that Bernie's plan is really just smoke clouding the same Washington as usual. Yet as any publically engaged citizen knows, government is never ideally stagnant and instead leans and sways with the winds of time. Bernie is a new wind for a new time working for an old struggle: true equality for all.