I entered high school in 2017 and, like many of my friends, became politically aware under Trump’s America: an America of division, hatred and inefficiency.

Day after day, my peers and I witnessed school shootings, criminal investigations, police brutality, voter suppression and overflowing ICUs — not to mention the recent Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, a disturbing threat to democracy. Despite our endless protests and widespread activism, nothing ever seemed to change. As a result, much of Gen Z has skewed, generally pessimistic views on politics, government and society.

In class today, our teacher asked us which long-awaited democratic reforms we believed were going to take place. After all, it’s the first time in a long time that the Democratic party controls the presidency, the House and the Senate.

And yet, “no” was the most common answer to nearly every question. Are we being overly cynical or have we just been disappointed too many times? What will be enough to engender change and progress? Regardless of political affiliation, it’s safe to say that this past presidency has been tumultuous and, for Gen Z, this corruption and inaction is all we really know.

But perhaps things will change. As I watched President Biden’s inauguration, I forgot what it was like to have a leader that promotes unity, not polarization. Thus, despite our repeated disillusionment, I urge my generation to be optimistic about change and also to be that change when necessary.

Emily Deng


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(16) comments

Dirk van Ulden

Corrections: "how this country has turned into an equity zoo"

Dirk van Ulden

Emily does not realize that Biden is all talk and no action. No wonder her generation is cynical as they have heard this emptiness and these over the tip platitudes before. When Biden talks unity he means unity for the left and those who do not agree will be censored and subjected to the cancel culture. It would be interesting to hear from Emily in four years and see ho this country has turned into a equity zoo.


"But perhaps things will change. As I watched President Biden’s inauguration, I forgot what it was like to have a leader that promotes unity..."

Unity? How is that possible for a party that defines itself along race, gender and sexual identities? Ask your teacher about that.


Emily: Thank you very much for a thoughtful and very well written letter! It was like a breath of fresh air among all the nonsense often seen on this site. Just ignore negative comments from people who simply don’t grasp your points and instead try to muddy it all up by exposing their ignorance and that they don’t even understand the modern day meaning of socialism and how it has effectively blended with capitalism, both here and in more progressive countries. While ignoring the shortcomings of the past administration and the enormous damage left, they instead misrepresent and lie about the incoming in the most childish manner, - without even understanding that they are underscoring your point! Keep it up, young woman! The world needs people like you!

Patrick Henry

Now Emily you will able to witness the head of a crime family run our country without half a brain. We just hope and pray that children your age are not brain washed into thinking socialism is a good thing based on the communists in the California Teachers Union who teach you. I hope your youthful eyes are finally open to the scourge that is the Democrat party like people much wiser and older than you who have seen it for generations.


Sorry Patrick,

You have things in the wrong tense. Emily "has been able to" witness for four years the head of a crime family with half a brain run the country, "not will be able to". BTW, it is the Democratic party.

Patrick Henry

That is the second time you said it is the Democratic Party and not the Democrat Party. How much would you like to make a bet that I am right and you are wrong. At least look it up so that you are not incorrectly saying the name of your own party. Sad

Tommy Tee

PH aka CC: You are WRONG (not a surprise). Democrat is a noun, Democratic is an adjective which describes the party.

Democrat Party is an epithet for the Democratic Party of the United States, used in a disparaging fashion by the party's opponents. Like you. You're right up there with Joe McCarthy.



I just checked in and I see that Tommy gave you the info already. I would only add that Republicans have used it at least since the 50's and more recently your idol, Donald, uses it every chance he gets just to be disrespectful and throw red meat to his poorly educated followers. BTW, I won't bet with a Trump supporter because I would probably get stiffed just like Trump does to his people, whether they be fans at rallies or contractors or the USA Freedom Kids that he stiffed in Florida, Jan. 2016.

Ray Fowler

Hi, Emily

Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts. While it's disillusioning to me personally that you and others in your generation feel disillusioned, the generations that have preceded you have played key roles in bringing about that effect. Sorry.

Gen Z's cynicism is understandable... things are crazy. I agree the past presidency was marked with tumult but would add that the tumult came from both sides of the political aisle. While our new president would like to promote unity... don't be surprised if it doesn't happen the way you believe it should unfold.

Which goes to the question... what will Emily do to promote unity? And to be fair... what am I going to do to promote unity... what are we as a nation going to do to promote unity? The vision can come from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but we have to make it happen.

Back to Gen Z... Mark Twain said, "There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist." But Gen Z does not have to be known as the pessimistic generation, and while your high school graduation will look nothing like the ceremonies of the recent past, is there still reason to be optimistic and hopeful for the future? I believe the answer is "yes."

Good luck in your next life adventure...


Good morning Ray,

Thanks once again for your enlightened response to Emily and the feelings most of us have about the enthusiasm the younger folks have about the current events and what they can do in the future to either continue them or to change them.

It is refreshing to read something positive rather than the 3 or 4 regulars of the GEP that can only offer no to everything without offering a sensible solution.

Ray Fowler

With your recent spate of adulation... people are gonna think you owe me money.

Ray Fowler

On a more serious note... thanks.

Well, I am critical of the the CTA, and I'm guessing most of Emily's teachers don't present an even-handed view of different perspectives. Fortunately, the students who contribute their thoughts on politics in these pages seem to mull over ideas before speaking out loud. If they come to a position I don't support... that's OK... as long as they are thinking and their position on an issue is not simply the result of CTA propaganda.



I am not sure if the percentage of teachers doing indoctrinating on various positions is as high as you suspect. I do agree that from what I have read in the DJ by the younger letter writers they do seem to think things through and offer a reasonable position even if I don't agree.

Ray Fowler


Hmmm... how high is too high? I cannot offer a number with any scientific certainty, but... based on my experience... the percentage is significant.



I meant to start my 2:33 comment with a reference to the earlier 9:23 comment with...just trying to encourage a little civility and give credit where due or maybe unify rather than divide like our regulars that I don't have to name.

On to the teachers. I will defer to your experience because my only experience is with first grade teachers and they are more concerned with ABC's, 123's and keeping the kids from peeing in their pants.

Kirkland's 22year Speyside sherry finished tonight.

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