Politics are a complicated topic for millennials. In Canada’s 2011 federal election, according to Elections Canada, only roughly 39 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 24 voted. We live in an age where equality, acceptance, and inclusivity are part of the ideological forefront for young, upcoming voters. These are all statistics and insights that, undoubtedly, we have seen many times before.
The root problem is that politics are a tribal exercise that, generally, are hostile to the aforementioned millennial values. Modern politics — with the advent of unfettered social media — require a Machiavellian ruthlessness and pettiness that is alienating to a generation of individuals who are, more often than not, declaring themselves as progressively independent. Subsequently, the question arises: how do we blend millennial progressivism and quell economic uncertainty in the 21st century? The answer: a more customizable government, which would involve an alliance between the federal Liberals and the NDP.
Technically, I am a millennial, although I am creakily bordering on the elderly edge. I am part of the older generation that still remembers (not fondly) the hyper-conservative Reagan/Thatcher era. I want to see a world where people are free to choose who they are and finite labels become a thing of the past. And so, over the course of the last two years, I sampled what different political groups had to offer.
I joined the BC Liberals, held quorum with the BCNDP, wrote policy for the Canadian Libertarian Party, attended an Ayn Rand conference, donated money to the federal Liberals, and purchased membership in the federal Conservative Party. After becoming involved with these groups, I came to the conclusion that they were all deficient in some manner.
If the two parties do not join forces they will inevitably split the vote in favour of the Conservatives.
This uncertainty of representative affiliation is the new reality of millennial politics: we are Consumer Citizens. In an effort for full disclosure, I would like to say that I still do not know exactly how to approach progressive politics. Ultimately my exploration of various ideologies was in an effort to find the best way to create actual freedom for every citizen, whether it was with a large active government or a small litigious one.
However, the more I explored libertarian ideas, the more I realized that it was mostly a load of baloney, where selfish pro-business advocates were heartily trumpeting deregulation and the removal of government interference. Shortly thereafter I discovered author Matt Taibbi’s excellent novel, Griftopia, which outlines how the Ayn Rand-ian influence on American business almost crashed the entire world economy in 2008. So on the political spectrum I am not far left, or far right, or much of a centrist either. I am, lo and behold, a progressive independent.
The (albeit temporary) solution for millennials, I think, is for a merger between the federal Liberals and NDP. Between the two parties (one aggressively progressive, the other cautiously pro-prosperity) and between their two leaders (Mulcair is an amazing prosecutorial presence in parliament, and Trudeau has the charisma and tactical prowess to gather popular support) a Liberal New Democrat Party would gather the votes necessary to form a viable, majority government. The two parties are so similar in practice and appearance that — if they do not join forces — they will inevitably split the vote in favour of the federal Conservatives.
If we are going to say that millennials are Consumer Citizens, then let’s follow the standard marketing trends and make things more customizable. I want the Canadian Government, version 2.0.