Senior Senator McCain from Arizona has again made comments regarding what he terms “young generations”. In a recent spot on Fox News Sunday the former Presidential Candidate lamented the fact that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has taken on an almost Jason Bourne persona amongst the millennial generation.
This is not the first time McCain has made comments about the political opinions of those younger than him. Earlier this year he grumbled that Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) 13-hour filibuster over Constitutional limits on drone warfare only served to “fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.”
There is a larger context to McCain’s complaint. The nature of large electronic surveillance measures is very unpopular to younger generations. For us, most of our lives are conducted electronically. Everything from bank accounts to personal pictures runs through cyberspace. For government to act entitled to eavesdrop on personal communications is a very real violation of constitutionally protected privacy. The seventeen point drop in President Obama’s approval rating among people under 30 immediately after the Snowden leak shows how important the issue of privacy is to millennials .
Popular (and overwhelmingly liberal) social entertainment site Reddit taunted Mitt Romney mercilessly via meme only months ago. However, less than one year into President Obama’s second term, the massive site maintains constant chatter on government violations of Constitutional rights. A subsection of the site is devoted to “Restore the 4th” to protest and organize against NSA domestic spying programs.
Younger people are often classified as politically uninformed, and apathetic to nationally policy. That may have been true in the past, but a culture shift away from omnipresent government looks to be gaining traction. Whether the powers that be inside the beltway understand it or not, the stances that major parties are taking now candidates may one day have to walk back.
Senator McCain and the rest of the GOP have been flailing to attract younger voters to the Republican Party. Working to restrict government surveillance operations within the law is an opportunity to both fight for the constitution, and for the interests of younger voters. Nothing, nothing drives the youth of America away from Republicans faster than condescension from a pontificating old man in a far distant capitol.
In the Fox News Interview McCain said “Right now there’s kind of a generational change. Young Americans do not trust this government. Without trusting government you can’t do a lot of things.”
Trust is earned, Senator.