After posting my piece last night on youth and government health reform, I thought more about the attitudes of young people on the issue. The meme out there is that we consider ourselves to be “invincible,” therefore we’re not engaging in discussion on the issue. Luckily, in true Millennial form, some young people collaborated, started an organization, and fought back against this “invincible” myth.

But if we’re not perceiving ourselves to be invincible, what’s going on here? Why the minimal “noise” from young people?

First, let’s remember that today’s young people don’t make “noise.” Our generation wants to solve problems, not settle ideological scores, whether that’s through technology, multi-tasking, collaborating with others, etc. Our change-making skills are generally different from the Boomers currently running our major institutions. While our conservative elders are best-served to confuse voters of all ages in this debate, many of our older Democratic brothers and sisters don’t have the stomach to avoid the false clamors for bipartisanship. As a result, Democrats and Republicans who run the debate continue to yell at each other, while millions of Americans – including too many young people – gamble their already-precarious life savings on not getting hurt or sick. So whether young people are attempting to make change or not, the “chorus of cynics,” and in this case, cowards, distracts from anything we would be doing anyway.

Given the sway that lobbyists and special interests still have within Congress and other halls of government, young people unfortunately can’t yet enact their brand of change in every institution. In 2008, this was overcome by advocating and voting for a candidate who displayed a mastery of the peer-to-peer tactics, and the pragmatic and “no drama” approach that Millennials embrace. Millennials saw this approach on many issues the first part of this year as well, particularly on pieces of legislation like Serve America, the large expansion in national service through the federal government. But now that the most important issue has appeared in front of us as a nation, young people are missing that refreshing call for collaborative, pragmatic problem-solving. Instead, talking points and yelling abounds. To paraphrase from today’s op-ed piece in the Post, “We have the hope. Where’s the audacity,” Mr. President?

Eight months into the Obama administration, as we mourn the senator from Massachusetts, many of us retain the hope, but we are wondering what happened to the audacity that is needed to move the country in a new direction. In recent weeks, many progressives have expressed concern that Obama’s bold plan to reform health care may be at risk. A defeat on this key issue could undermine other elements of his agenda. We don’t believe that the president has changed his goals, but we wonder whether he underestimated the power necessary to bring about real change.

If we’re going to be successful in getting this done, we need the chief facilitator of the “millions of voices calling for change” to return to his role.

An LA Times article, also published today, discusses the widespread support among young people for government-led health reform. It contained the statistics that are more startling and worrisome every time I read them:

Young people account for 30% of the uninsured population, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund, a health policy research foundation. They are least likely to be offered health insurance through employment benefits — just 53% of working young adults are eligible for employer-based coverage. And since their incomes tend to be low, buying coverage on their own is usually too expensive.

The problem is still there, and getting worse with each day. Contrary to the conventional wisdom spread by AP writers, the youth of the nation don’t feel invincible. Try disgusted. In the midst of a cacophony that, at best, lacks courage, and, at worst, is hate-filled, we simply want to see some semblance of the problem-solving politics for which we voted.

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