Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hey, Generation Next: Says You’re Clueless, Belittles Your Pro-Rail Opinions

It’s possible from time to time to look back on developments within a major public affairs issue and know precisely when one side or the other shot itself in the proverbial foot and turned public opinion against it.

That may well have happened with the Honolulu rail project at the start of this weekend., Cliff Slater’s anti-rail website, essentially told Oahu residents 34 and younger “you don’t know what you’re talking about.” (See the July 15th post, "Borreca writes....")

In belittling the City’s assessment that QMark’s public opinion survey found ”overwhelming” support for rail (57 percent support, 40 percent oppose), HonoluluTraffic wrote:

“…the ‘overwhelming’ support only came from those 34 years or younger. Among adults 34 and older, those most likely to know what’s going on politically (emphasis added), there was ‘overwhelming’ opposition.”

How’s THAT for a put-down, Generation Next? In the universe run by, your vote would count half as much as your parents’ and grandparents’!

However you characterize the views of the mid-30s-and-over set, it wasn't nearly enough to turn the entire poll against rail; 57 to 40 percent is indeed overwhelming support.

And so it goes in Mr. Slater’s world – where rail's opposition apparently is so desperate to rationalize away the truly overwhelming support for Honolulu rail that it insults Oahu’s youngest generation.

Whatever this generation knows about politics, it’s surely more than HonoluluTraffic gives it credit for. It's also undoubtedly more knowledgeable than earlier ones on hot-button issues for which its members are the standard bearers – sustainability, energy efficiency, environmentalism and smart growth. Make no mistake, rail transit is their preference – overwhelmingly.

Remember July 15th as the day somebody's foot was shot off.

1 comment:

sumwonyuno said...

I know it's a rail blog, but I've got to put in my two cents since I'm part of the younger generation. Why aren't the kids more involved in politics? I can think of four reasons:

- institutional bias of older and senior people in positions of power.
- younger age groups go to school and work; older and upper class members have more time to be engaged in politics.
- traditional American suspicion of government + post-Watergate + post-Reagan mentality.
- free rider mentality: you don't have to participate in the political process (vote, lobby, etc) to get benefits (tax breaks, roads, clean air, etc.).

So, in traditional terms of politics participation, observing the lack of people my age at the City Council or on TV (or radio!) is a false positive. Getting an "I don't know" response just means it's not an interesting topic to them, but if you ask on some other issue, you'll hear passion.


Oh wow, I looked at the top 10 comments part on Mr. Slater's post. It's not Eric Ryan standard, but it's aiming for it.

Every new generation has the opportunity to accept or reject previous values, to adopt the past or dream the future. I'm not going to claim that our generation will be any better (because picking standards are subjective).

Adults fight to win; we "do it for the lulz".