for the love of god, can we young’uns shut up about social issues for a second?

anyone with a speck of worldly cognisance will tell you that all is not right on our planet. contrary to what that one emo band would have you believe, the world isn’t a beautiful place. it’s full of injustice*, racism, sexism, classism, and a whole raft of other ‘isms and phobias that I don’t have the patience to list.

and for the most part it’s reassuring to see that my generation is generally aware of these issues, and furthermore is mobile and active in combating them; if you consider Facebook to be a worthwhile battleground for conflicts concerning social issues^.

but what isn’t so reassuring is the fact that young voters** tend to focus on these social issues to the exclusion of other rather pressing concerns; the big ones generally having something to do with the economy, the workforce, or more individual financial matters such as superannuation.

we get so caught up in our Facebook slacktivism and our moral righteousness that we rarely spare a thought for say, our financial security in the far-flung future, or the possibility that none of us will have jobs in a few decades time. and I don’t know about you, but I’m just a wee bit more willing to devote time and effort to my own present and future well-being than I am to assuaging my white guilt through meaningless and self-masturbatory posts on social media.

now I’m not for a second saying that fighting hatred and prejudice isn’t an important and worthwhile cause; sometimes it feels like no-one would do it if we didn’t, and I’ll never criticise or belittle someone for making a meaningful stand against oppression rooted in gender, race, or class.

but what I am saying is that there’s a lot to be said for a rounded and thorough view of the issues currently facing young Australians, which is something many of us lack. if you can stand up and give a twenty minute oral presentation on why 18C is essential in Australia’s current social climate^^, but can’t give me an equally detailed spiel on why the following:

  • superannuation taxation reform
  • the broken and unfair housing market
  • protection of workers rights

are equally crucial, then you need to do some reading, expand your horizons, and get to grips with these problems. of course there’ll always be the argument that these issues are, at their core, social issues, but let’s set that aside for the purposes of this discussion.

half of the reason that we young’uns on the left are belittled and infantilised by right-wing voters both young and old is that we’re seen to only care about social issues; we’re mocked for being ‘clueless greenies’, and gently placed in the corner, the way you would a toddler who thinks they have a solid grasp on how the world works***. we’re seen as one-issue ponies, and that hits us right in our credibility; something we desperately need in order to have our voices heard in the current political landscape.

and it’s solely on us as a voting bloc to sway this perception that they have on the other side of the aisle. the right won’t stop treating us like a swarm of idealistic fools until we give them a reason not to, and actually demonstrate some sort of savvy when it comes to what some would call ‘the real issues’. we need to stop letting our hearts lead our heads, and stop with the blind outrage whenever someone does something we don’t agree with.

I guess my main point, if I have one at all, is that it’s time we grow up.

being offended doesn’t work anymore, and generation-wide ignorance of the issues is entirely self-defeating. we need to try harder, for our own sakes.

*sneaky self-plug from yours truly

^I don’t.

**myself occasionally included

^^it is.

***they don’t.