Trump is good for politics

President Trump’s time in the White House has been marred by high turnover in the administration, nepotism, and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants policy. He’s also been a constant source of news due to an affair with a porn star and alleged collusion with Russia during the election that resulted in his presidency. But here’s why I believe this scandal-fraught administration has been good for politics: It has made people pay attention.

Millennials and Generation Z have grown up under the Obama presidency. For eight years, there was stability, class, and progress. President Obama made people feel hopeful and safe. But during his presidency, many were lulled into complacency. Millennials supported Obama and loved his message but never really got into politics because they didn’t have to. They trusted the president to govern the country so they never felt the need to intervene. But this also meant that many distanced themselves from the political process which, when you are a minor or a young adult, may not seem like a big deal.

Minors don’t have voting rights in this country, so for some, they may see no point in being politically active until they are old enough to vote. And many young adults are struggling through college, so who has time to pay attention to politics? But a fundamental lack of understanding about our government is dangerous.

If you don’t know what rights you have, how can you protect them? If you don’t know who your representatives are, how can you call or write to them to let them know where you stand as a constituent on an issue?

Trump is the answer to these questions. His presidency has seen tensions rise with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, xenophobia become legitimized by his Muslim country travel ban and plans of raising a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and fear in LGBTQ communities grow due to his discriminative rhetoric.

What his eventful presidency has done is woken the American people up. And perhaps, more importantly, woken up the younger generations. Millennials’ parents, the baby-boomer generation, are disciplined and hard-working but are also much less likely to want to rock the boat.

Millennials are the largest generation in history with more than 83 million members and make up a quarter of the U.S. population according to U.S. Census Bureau data. But millennials carry with them some things that Generation Z does not: memories of a pre-9/11 world and memories of the confusion and fear that filled the country afterward. Gen Zers also grew up during the Great Recession and saw how perilous the economy was after the housing bubble popped.

We lost faith in our banks for making bad mortgages, and in our government for bailing them out at the taxpayers’ expense. Millennials tend to be much more cautious because of this. We tend not to get involved in national politics and instead feel that the best ways to affect change are within our own communities. But Generation Z does not have these past events weighing on them. And because of that, they see no limit to what they can do. To them, the world is theirs to change. This makes them essential to changing politics and keeping people accountable.

Professor Bell, a Skyline history professor said that Generation Z reminds her of her own generation, that of the ‘60s Vietnam protesters. She believed she could change the world.

“As I started to get out, I found out … it (the world) was much too big,” Bell said. “The idealism is still there, but the reality is, as we get older, I realized I can’t change the world.” But she refers to President Trump’s nomination as a “catalyst” for change in her students.

“Young people are refreshing because they don’t care who stands in their way,” she said.

A truly tech-savvy generation, Generation Z will most likely form and shape movements online before hitting the streets to fight for what they believe in.

Psychology major Akmal Gadang said he is more politically aware now that Trump is president and he is concerned about immigration policy and the “ever-increasing wealth gap as it affects the middle class” as well as what his future looks like.

Generation Zer Angelina Guerrero, a business major, considers herself an eco-warrior. She is most concerned about the environment.

“He (Trump) canceled the Paris Agreement,” Guerrero said.”I think it’s an unsustainable way to live. It gives people an excuse to not take the future and the future generations seriously.”

In a study by research firm 747 Insights and consumer research firm Collaborata, Gen Zers were found to be less patriotic than previous generations. This could be due to the fact that 68 percent of Generation Zers felt that the country was headed in the wrong direction.

Independent and entrepreneurial, Generation Z’s idealism paired with millennials’ realism will likely change the aspects of government that no longer reflects younger generations’ values.