Close

FRESH FACES

It is time for millennials to lead

In Summary

• They must re-imagine society and re-think work beyond the 21st century

• They must rise up and begin to push back on the old tired politics of climate change denial

Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of the city of South Bend, Indiana
THE FUTURE: Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of the city of South Bend, Indiana
Image: Reuters

A fresh new face has erupted on the political landscape of the United States of America. The Mayor of the city of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, is just 37 years. He is the first millennial to compete at the highest level of America’s political power.

Mayor Buttigieg’s platform is simple; freedom, democracy and security. It seems rather odd that an American politician would be running on such a platform. We all have been led to believe that the USA is free, democratic and secure. But the Trump presidency has persuaded many in the world to doubt that America is the shining city on a hill.

The handling of the Robert Mueller report by Attorney General William Barr is exactly what one might read in the press about cover and obfuscation in less democratic parts of the world. Is the USA really exceptional?

Mayor Buttigieg is young. He is a veteran. He is gay. He is from the mid-West. And he is rising in the polls in what is a crowded field of candidates from the Democratic Party. There is a boldness and audacity about Buttigieg that is refreshing. There is a pace and sense of urgency that makes his candidacy and campaign hard to ignore.

Mayor Buttigieg talks about the freedom to marry who you love. He talks about freedom to go into business without fear of losing health cover. He talks about what the world will look like in 2054, when he will be the same age as President Donald Trump. He talks about money and politics and the tyranny of the electoral college.

US President Donald Trump
DINOSAUR: US President Donald Trump
Image: Reuters

Mayor Buttigieg talks about being part of the generation that will earn much less in their lifetime than their parents. He talks about climate security and the fact that his generation will pay the full cost of the anthropogenic impacts of climate change. He is not divisive in the way that he thinks about his age and his generation. He calls for an intergenerational alliance to grapple with the daunting global challenges.

Mayor Buttigieg signals in my view, a critical inflection point in leadership, both at the nation-state level and on the global stage. It is time for a more youthful generation to rise up and begin to push back on the old tired politics of climate change denial. Our addiction to fossil fuels is not tenable any longer.

The new millennial generation of leaders must re-imagine society. They must re-think work beyond the 21st century. What is the place of automation in the workplace? In the 21st century, the returns on capital outpace by far the returns on labour. How then do we reward labour and tax wealth in a progressive manner?

The millennial generation of leaders must re-imagine education. Education must not be just about job training. We must return to the foundational tenets of education; moral excellence. Education is essentially preparation for responsible citizenship. The minority elite does not wield power, we the people do.