(Centennial Graduate Intern) Working in the Pentagon this summer, I ran into several Obama appointees. One was a field director for Hillary’s Presidential campaign in Iowa. During the campaign, he spent his time meeting all the senior citizens in the community and reaching out to other community leaders. He went to the local high school once during the primary campaign. On the fateful caucus day, the entire senior class of the high school in Iowa showed up and a solid Hillary district was locked into Obama. Thus, began the 2008 primary that eventually culminated with the election of President Barack Obama.
My generation, the millennials, are one of the first generations to go to school in a very diverse environment, making our generation extremely inclusive. However, within this inclusiveness is a sense of moral relativism that has permeated our mentality. Within such a context, an ideology predicated on principle is far more difficult to hold ground than a nebulous, rapidly evolving mentality.
Our survey of several different youth leaders has shown that there are several trends within engaging the youth within the conservative movement as well as solidifying a far reaching movement inculcating the changes our nation embodies demographically. The lessons learned/trends are as follows:
• Focus on jobs and economy
– Entry level jobs for recent college graduates
– Loss of perpetuity of the wellbeing of our nation
– Tuition and Fees
– Student loans(now federalized)
• Grassroots organizations predicated on ideology rather than necessarily party
• Youth Coordination accessible and prominent during campaigns
• Avoiding alienation due to party positions
• Inclusiveness of conservative movement; preservation of American values
A brief anecdote from my college days captures the aforementioned trends. I had the blessing of working on a pro-life movement on Texas A&M’s campus on a grassroots level. Our focus was on countering the introduction of FOCA, which would lift almost all regulations on abortion. Our goal was to utilize the already mobilized pro-life movement around the legislation and increase the number of signatures of a petition being sent to preclude the legislation’s introduction. Our campaign began with traditional groups such as Aggies for Life and the Young Conservatives of Texas; however, due to our ability to articulate the commonality of the sanctity of human life, we were able to garner support from several different faith groups typically not associated with the pro-life movement. It is the strength of semantics within a campaign as well as an appeal to universal human values that allowed us to build an inclusive, dynamic movement.
It is this sort of mentality that we can bring to our larger conservative movement in order to engage the youth vote as well as build a lasting conservative movement for the 21st century. Above all, the American values that we have been blessed with give me confidence that even though my generation will face the greatest challenges our nation has witnessed since the post World War II era , we will also find our greatest triumphs.