I love the millennial generation. I work with students on the campuses of San Francisco and I revel in their confidence, their optimism, their drive for hands-on philanthropy. But if I have one complaint it is that they have become accustomed to instant gratification. They have an almost naive belief that if you play by the rules then the system will do the right thing.
Buoyed by promise of change and a sense of empowerment at having come of age to vote, these fine young people put a candidate in the White House who promoted the same values – the system can work if we believe in it.
What the candidate and his staff forgot to mention is that he was taking office after eight years of chronic mismanagement the repercussions of which had not yet finished wreaking their damage. The candidate and his party assumed that it was understood that it would take time to right the ship.
The millennials didn’t understand that. Neither did they understand how destructive an opposition can be (neither do most of us it should be noted). Remember how long it took to build Rome, and how the empire was destroyed by its own apathy.
The Obama administration can make the changes it promised, but it needs support in the House and Senate. It is ironic that he might lose this opportunity not because of those who oppose him, but because of the apathy of a generation who gave him the chance.
Rome was not rebuilt in a day and President Obama needs you to go to the polls. For the sake of the country, whatever your politics – go vote!
Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com