Generational perspectives: Commentary by Randy Huang

Google this, that or everything. The newer generation, such as mine, are more reliant on Google for information, but now they have begun acquiring news through social media like TikTok or Facebook.
Yet, complicated subjects like political issues, like the Israeli-Palestine Conflict, are simplified in a 10-second to a one-minute video to be seen. Misinformation, misinterpretation, and miscommunication are more relevant than MTV at its peak.
Information spreads quickly, but the wrong type of information is being spread. It is very frustrating to me how my generation and many young adults are being informed by algorithms and fueling the polarization of America.
If you asked a group of young adults how they feel about the next presidential election, many would question how two elderly white men could ever be president or radically vent their concerning ideology. No wonder young adults are reluctant to vote. We don’t want to be associated with their groups and want to express ourselves. It seems like a Catch-22. However, I asked many about the candidate’s process or legislation and they suddenly looked up at the clouds for answers.
I believe Gen Z is one of the most politically aware, but also one of the most politically unaware. We are frustrated. We blame the Baby Boomers, Trump, Biden, or anyone else. Still, there is accountability and responsibility to us as well. I believe the responsibility of young adults to vote from local to national, no matter what. America is free to vote who you desire, even a dog for a mayor. (I would even vote for my friend’s dog, Flower, who survived rat poison.)
Nonetheless, I am optimistic about the possibility of change in America. We possess the ability to choose our presidential candidates, our laws, and our future. Even so, it must be youth to do so. Naturally, young adults can not learn the absoluteness of the judicial system of America in short form. Regardless, the difference between change and continuity is knowledge. Politics seems like a mess, but with understanding, we can correct it.
I hate hearing these three popular myths: Wait an hour after eating before you go swimming to prevent cramping; Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis; Voting will not make a difference. If you’re a Republican in a Democrat-dominated state or vice versa, your vote will still count. Or if you support a third party, your vote still counts. Growing support for a certain belief will sway how a politician or party reciprocates them. Elections will soon evolve into full of voluntary response bias, compiling extremists and politicians who won’t put the effort to serve us, but corporations.
As America approaches its next presidential election, young adults will determine the tomorrow of this nation. It is not Trump or Biden nor Republicans or Democrats. It is those who vote.
Gen Z’s time is tiktoking until a major election, glued their faces on live stream on TikTok. We’ll keep posting about the retirement home, we call Congress. But, I believe we need to put our effort into understanding a situation and have respectful discussions instead of one-sided echo chambers. Not only in my generation but older and younger too.

Randy Huang was the 2024 IVHS Salutatorian and will be writing a series of commentaries for the Illinois Valley News before heading off to college in the fall.