Engendering a New Generation of Apathy

Teachers, politicians, and parents have long stressed the importance of political engagement while lamenting rising rates--particularly among young people--of voter apathy and disinterest. To inspire said engagement they will use phrases to the effect of: You don't like it? Go out and do something about it. or You have a voice, make it heard. How noble these idioms once seemed; how hollow, now, are they proving to be.

Make no mistake: this election season US citizens are more engaged and invested in the political process and the future of this country than at any point in the past 30 years. Yet, this engagement, attentiveness, and excitement is being concealed and ignored where it exists most strongly: behind the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders. When the excitement driving Sanders campaign actually is acknowledged it is only so it can be dismissed as youthful delirium or pie-in-the-sky idealism. (A May 13th endorsement of Hillary Clinton by the Los Angeles Times called Sander's proposals "audacious and utopian.") Such continued dismissal, by the media and the many influenced by it, comes at the peril of America and the world.

Donald Trump is a fascist and a joke no longer. Does it strike you as queer that this man--his jingoism and hate--is dominating the airwaves, rather than the millions of bright-eyed, young Americans working en masse for peaceful, positive change in this country; rather than general election polls that consistently have Sanders running 9 points higher than Clinton against Donald Trump? Any thoughtful citizen should be incredulous at the media's suppression of what is a case of electric and widespread political engagement by not just young people, but countless others, around Bernie Sanders. Potential, relevant reports of these peaceful assemblies, and the mounting momentum of Sanders campaign, are routinely bypassed by media outlets who instead either: 1). Offer unveiled assurances of Hillary Clinton's inevitable nomination as the Democratic nominee. 2). Shed crocodile tears at the prospect of a Trump presidency that the disproportional air time they devote to him only helps to ensure. Case in point: I drove to work this morning listening to an NPR story in which Susan Mulcahy, a former editor of The New York Post, recounts her experiences with "Donald Trump playing fast and loose with facts." Wow. What about this story is revelatory? Is it supposed to be hard-hitting journalism--NPR devoting airtime to further affirm what is already evident to any literate 5 year old? At this stage in the game, such a story accomplishes nothing--no prospective Trump voter likely listens to NPR, nor have they yet been swayed by this well-echoed accusation--and points further to the corporate sterilization of the fourth estate. After all, one now routinely hears commercials for LifeLock, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp throughout NPR broadcasts. Disheartening, as I've long trusted NPR and regarded them as an objective news source. Yet given their new wave of corporate sponsors and constant, since February, conclusion-jumping to a Trump vs. Clinton general election how can one now to assume NPR to be different from those other news outlets who long ago evidenced themselves as bought and sold?

The fact is: I am politically engaged in Bernie Sanders' campaign, as so many millions are. The fact is: We are making our voices heard by writing, assembling and campaigning. And in return, the same people who first urged us to join the political process are ignoring us and making us feel as if we are pissing in the wind. Making us feel as if we are naive and misguided. If we are crazy in believing universal health care and fair access to higher education--services that nearly every other 1st world nation provides for its citizens--should exist in a nation that routinely names itself the greatest in the world then a hell of a lot of sanitariums need to be built.

By continuing to ignore and dismiss the movement, ideology, and millions behind Bernie Sanders' movement, the media is only helping to engender yet another generation of apathetic, politically disengaged American citizens. Every overlooked rally, every underreported speech, every slanted narrative is only reaffirming the belief that we the people don't matter; that we the people are cute when we're inspired, but that we the people should step aside now, child, step aside. Don't worry, we soon will. And when that happens Donald Trump will be sworn in as your president.