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Generation Y

Is Democracy Dead?

It’s an election year, and regardless of which party line you prefer, here’s a little known fact: We have the oldest Congress in history right now. Equally, if not more alarming, is the fact that most elected officials in office now were in some type of office by the time they were 31.

It’s an election year, and regardless of which party line you prefer, here’s a little known fact: We have the oldest Congress in history right now.

Equally, if not more alarming, is the fact that most elected officials in office now were in some type of office by the time they were 31.

How many 31-year-old elected officials do you know today? Or even 41-year-olds? Doesn’t it make you wonder who will be running our country in the future?

Bueller? Bueller?

Older generations blame younger generations for not stepping up to the plate. Younger generations blame older generations for monopolizing and corrupting the system.

Regardless of who’s to blame and why, there’s an ever-widening gap between government and younger generations.

According to the American Psychological Association, which conducted 40 years of research on 9 million young adults, in the past 15 years there has been a significant decline among young Americans in political participation and interest.

Interesting enough, this isn’t unique to the U.S. In Australia, a recent survey of 18 to 29 year-olds revealed that only 39% preferred a democracy and 23% said “it didn’t matter what kind of government we have”.

Wow. Maybe we need to be concerned about more than the younger generation’s lack of interest in running for office. Perhaps we need to be asking – is democracy relevant anymore? Or will democracy die with the Boomer generation?

Considering that Generation X (1965-1981) and Y (1982-1995) will outnumber the Boomers (1946-1964) in the workforce by 2015, it’s high time we take the future of our government more seriously.

XYZ University is taking a proactive approach to gathering research and building awareness on this topic.

In 2009, we conducted research on the changing political landscape in the United States and authored a report on the topic: New Generation, New Politics: Democracy Depends On It.

Now, we’re researching the state of advocacy in membership associations.

Why associations? Because there’s 100,000+ associations in the United States alone and most of them spend a considerable amount of resources trying to influence public and government policy at either the federal, state, or local level.

The question is — is advocacy still working? Do younger generations care about the outcomes of advocacy? Because if they don’t care, a new approach is required, sooner than later.

If you work for a membership association, please take the short survey.

Is democracy dead?

Not yet. But unless we find a way to engage younger generations, it’s only a matter of time until political revolution.

Sarah Sladek

Concerned about declining engagement in our nation’s membership associations, non-profits, and workplaces, Sarah Sladek founded XYZ University, the nation’s first and only generations-focused training and engagement strategy company, in 2002.

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