How do I convince you I'm young? Totally down with the kids, feeling those sick vibes dude. Though not the trendiest young person as you will be increasingly aware, I am young and I do understand what it means to be a young adult in this current political climate. I've sat back and admired the increase in youth political involvement over the past few years, looked around me and wondered why my peers grew increasingly interested in crusty old members of parliament and what they have to say.
I grew up in a politically active household and so to be politically involved and incredibly socialist was just expected of me. Therefore, not speaking for myself when I say, I've been shocked to see so many of my peers, so many young people online and in real life engage with political events, keep up to date with it all and best of all, take a genuine interest in it. For years I bit the hand of the rhetoric, fed to me by older generations, that us millennials were lazy and disinterested, genuinely believed that my friends showed no interest and felt politics didn't involve them because they were lazy. But the recent surge in political involvement has gotten me thinking, how did an incredibly archaic and old fashioned political system, manage to draw in so many young people like moths to flames?
Without sounding incredibly old, I've concluded, it's the internet. More specifically, memes. For so many years, politics have been incredibly inaccessible to young people. There are no bridges between us and politics, just a lot of closed doors. To develop an interest in the field is incredibly difficult when elective representatives don't want your involvement. We've felt incredibly disillusioned and shut out, but then came along memes.
Political satire, believe it or not, was always a big part of my childhood. We watched a lot of it and I grew to love it, from sitcoms to panel shows, I grew to see the importance of satirising politics. When living in a democracy, it's vital that as a free citizen you are able to use that democratic freedom to undermine governing bodies, if you so wish. Though not everyone's wish, the option should be there, and it is. A government should be able to thrive under constant criticism and need for change, political satire acts as a direct way for ordinary citizens to undermine governing bodies and take back autonomy. Every criticism of the government and party in power, whether from satirical television shows or prime minister's questions, should be seen as an excellent way to hold them to account.
The new form of political satire is internet memes. Not only do memes act as an outreach for democratic involvement and critiquing of governing bodies, but they also provide a unique understanding of politics that young people just can't find anywhere else. I'm not calling my generation stupid, i think we're intelligent and passionate beyond belief. But I do think that memes act as a bridge between politics and people, for those struggling to keep up with current political climates, struggling to understand layouts of parliament or meanings behind bills being passed. Memes act as a way into politics, that is accessible and funny.
It's safe to say that as the world has changed so much in the last 20 years, so has the ways in which we take the piss of governing parties. It's always been done, to critique a government is to be living in a democracy. In my parent's generations it was edgy, new television shows and before that, radio shows. There have always been avenues, ways in which ordinary people can undermine politics, ways in which they use their democratic freedom to challenge the ideals of parties in power. Nowadays, it's online memes. Instead of bashing these memes, looking down from an older generational perspective and judging how we choose to consume our politics. Maybe just be grateful that we consume it at all, maybe just be grateful that we care enough to create the damn memes in the first place.
We are politically involved, with memes and keyboards at our fingertips, we will continue to use political satire to our advantage, continue to challenge what goes on around us. Continue to voice our opinions and continue to be heard.