Years ago, there were questions about America’s youth.
In the increasing digital age, fears rose about whether children were not as active – both physically and socially- as they used to be.
What happened to the days when politically engaged youth protested the Vietnam War? Some asked. Were kids now just too absorbed with their cell phones and video games to be aware of or care about political and societal problems?
It’s safe to say that now, in 2018, those fears are, for the most part, gone.
While there are still problems with an increasingly technological driven and dependent society, it seems that Americans are now more politically active than ever. In fact, technology, has played a huge role and serves as a platform for political views and stands. It seems that technology, once viewed as a major inhibitor and distraction, is the biggest medium for the modern day politically-active youth.
Athletes are protesting the national anthem. Video and music award shows have artists making empowering and political statements. News programs dedicate 24/7 coverage of the current White House administration. Songs, tv shows, and all types of art have some political message to convey. Simply put, a wave of political activism has taken over the country, of the likes that the country has never seen before.
This raises an interesting and essential question: Why is everything so politicized?
Recently, Kanye West made headlines by seemingly allying himself with President Trump. Kanye, who has a history of making controversial statements, made statements praising President Trump, while criticising former president Barack Obama. Kanye received significant backlash for his statements.
Kanye left many scratching their heads, and not because of his political position perhaps, but more because his political tirade came at such an unexpected time. I mean, Kanye, who is known for his rap career, his shoes, and his wife, making a political statement? He was never politically engaged. So, why now?
Truthfully, however, we shouldn’t be surprised. Trump’s election has spurred political activism and increased politicization throughout the country. It seems as if some view Trump’s election as such a threat to basic American values that they feel compelled to speak out in order to preserve “American democracy.”
Supporters of Trump administration have responded by emphasising their own positions and fighting for their “American values.”
Trump’s election came at such a unique time; some were ecstatic and hopeful that Trump would “bring back” the old American ideals and culture, while others thought the exact opposite. To them, Trump’s election represented a complete reversal of the eight year progress that Obama represented. This type of deep political divide created a political “with us or against us” culture in which being “neutral” is not an option.
Therefore, the reason why everything is so political is because there is no other option. The rise of such a “with us or against us” culture has forced people to express their views for fear that they will be exiled or accused for not having an opinion. Today, not having an opinion or taking a side is unacceptable. People have to join sides, and naturally they want to belong to a group, so they feel obligated to voice their opinions. Voicing your political opinion has become a “trend.”
However, the rise of politicization has come at a price. It seems that nowadays, everything has to have some “message” behind it. If it’s not political, it has no significance. No longer can we just enjoy a sporting event for the sport itself, or a movie for its entertainment value. Everything has to be judged on the political impact or message it has.