When Barack Obama and John McCain rolled into Oxford, Miss. for the first presidential debate in September 2008, traffic was ridiculous, classes were canceled and Obama sparked a flicker of hope in young voters.
My friends and I spent the day in the Grove, enjoying the festivities and anxiously awaiting the debate. Being such a red state, I stuck out with my navy Obama t-shirt, but I didn’t care — I was supporting the man who was going to get the economy back on track so I could have a job after graduation.
A few years later, I’ve become part of the CENGA generation: College Educated, Not Going Anywhere. I landed an internship six months after finishing at the University of Mississippi, and in eight weeks, I begin the hopeless hunt again.
John Zogby, the man accredited with coining the CENGA phrase, is an internationally respected political pollster and knows what a bunch of 20-somethings realized: The government is not great at solving problems.
Thanks to this booming economy, 53 percent of recent college graduates are either unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. So, after we spend way too much to get an education, we battle to the death (Hunger Games, anyone?) to find any job that pays. Can’t pay off those astronomical student loans without any income. Can’t start a life after always being told to “grow up, already” without a job.
We’re educated. We’re enthusiastic. We’re eager. We want to work. There are approximately 5 million voters between 18 and 29, and a good chunk of us have become simply despondent.
The support for Obama among our generation has dropped 20 percent since 2008, and Mitt Romney is an enigma. Many young adults would rather have Ron Paul running the country than either option.
Neither campaign is focusing much on the young American’s agenda, so the majority of CENGAs have become disengaged with the election completely. We know the candidates. We know the platforms. We don’t believe a word.
Someone give us a chance to prove ourselves and grow up. Anyone give us a glimmer of hope that things will get better.