A Call to Millennials: It’s Up to Us to Change Culture
It will take an entire generation — not one person sitting in the Oval Office — to effect the kind of cultural change America needs.
Millennials have more potential for solving America’s problems than any political candidate does.
As America plunges toward Election Day, it’s evident that people of all political affiliations are concerned about our future. From threats to religious liberty to racial division to fights over public education, there are enough worries to go around — and no candidate, no matter how good, can adequately address it all.
That’s because solving such problems will be the work of a generation of everyday people, not a president who sits in the Oval Office for four or eight years.
Which is why I’m calling my peers — fellow millennials — to be that generation.
Why No President Can Make America Great, Whole, or Healthy Again
It can be tempting — especially in a presidential election year — to pile the hopes and dreams of our future onto one candidate. And it makes sense. When people see national problems to be fixed, they look for a national leader to fix them.
But our political leaders are born and bred of the culture of the nation, because they come from everyday people like you and me. So if our culture is rotten, how can we think those problems won’t just translate to — and be magnified at — the national level?
Our Founding Fathers built an admirable system of checks and balances that actually make it impossible for the president to fix everything — and that’s good. We don’t want an all-powerful monarch or bureaucracy that overrides the freedom of citizens.
That doesn’t mean that presidents can’t impact history or that presidential elections aren’t important. But they’re not everything.
Where Cultural Change Really Happens
As Americans, we can’t expect one candidate to heal our nation’s wounds. And for people of faith, we can’t expect one candidate to restore our nation’s values.
What we can expect is that the things being taught to children in homes, schools and churches will more significantly impact the direction of our future than any one person who sits in the White House.
Cultural change happens before bedtime, when parents remind their toddlers what it means to be kind.
Cultural change happens at school, when teachers train students to think critically and independently.
Cultural change happens in houses of worship, when youth leaders show teens the difference between right and wrong.
Those toddlers, students and teens will grow up to be the next leaders of our nation. The values imparted to them will soon be the values that dominate the nation and the world.
Millennials: It’s Time to Take the Lead
I believe my generation is poised to implement this kind of long-lasting, if not immediate change. We’re graduating college. We’re entering the workforce. We’re launching careers and pursuing our dreams. We’re getting married and starting families. What we do next will affect the nation for decades, if not longer. Why?
Because the characteristics of the next generation will largely depend on what they see us doing. Will they see us running our businesses with integrity or greed? Will they see us enforce the law with justice or cruelty? Will they see us educate their friends with passion or indifference? Most of all, will they see us — their parents — raising them with love or with neglect?
The cultural change needed to heal our nation isn’t something that will happen overnight, or even in the next four or eight years. Though we have a lifetime’s worth of work ahead of us, such work, if we commit to it, will far outlast the policies put in place by the next president of the United States.