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Thursday, September 2, 2010

ARE WE LOSING OUR PASSION?

Maybe it's just me, but does it seem the majority of people protesting in the Tea and Coffee parties are either Baby Boomers or older? When you watch Town Hall meetings on television, it seems the audience tends to be older as well. I find it interesting these people seem to be more politically engaged than younger people. Maybe it's because we have had more practice. Going back to the 1960's and 70's, we were engaged with what was going on in the world; for example, we were active in such things as Zero Population Growth and Earth Day, not to mention the Viet Nam War and Civil Rights. When the age to vote was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1972, young people surged to the precincts, but interest in the electoral process slowly deteriorated over the years.

To me, it seems the Gen Xers and younger simply do not care; they are not engaged. I find this rather strange and perhaps another symptom of the generational split in our country. The young people entering the work force today strike me as rather apathetic and really do not wish to debate the issues of the day. Instead, I see quite a few parroting whatever the media tells them to say. When I challenge them on a remark they have made, such as "Why?", I generally get a blank look and an evasive answer. I don't have a problem with a person taking an opposing position, but they should be able to articulate the rationale for their position. I do not see the passion which drove the political discourse 40-50 years ago. Is it necessary for mom and dad to tell them what to think or does everything have to be scripted by television?

When I was growing up, we discussed just about everything around the dinner table, be it politics, religion, school, sex, drugs, sports, ethics, world events, or whatever. True, our parents made their positions clear to us, but it was more important to them to have their children engage their brains and learn to question and think for themselves which means, No, we didn't always agree, but we learned to respect the opinion of others. I don't know too many families who do this anymore. It seems a shame to me that the dinner table is used for nothing but eating.

Another area that concerns me is the short attention span of American voters. There was substantial outrage this year over Obamacare, the stimulus packages and bailouts, the growing national debt, the oil disaster in the Gulf, and our general lack of direction. I'll be curious though to see what the voter turnout will be in November. A good turnout will mean people have a good memory and politicians should be forewarned for the 2012 elections. However, if there is a bad turnout, it will mean "Business as Usual" for politicians. If this happens, I think a lot of crybabies should just shutup. I can't help but believe a lot of what we are experiencing could have been avoided had people not become apathetic and failed to vote in the last election, both young and old.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

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