Millennials are classified as a Civic (Hero) generation, which means that during our generation’s lifetime there will be increasing civic engagement throughout society as we spearhead a new “civic realignment” in our country. Authors Morley Winograd and Mike Hais wrote in their book, Millennial Makeover, that civic realignments are characterized by the following:
* “Identification with specific political parties and straight-ticket voting”
* “Rising voter turnout and/or maintenance of turnout at high levels”
* “Positive attitudes toward politics and political institutions”
* “Focus on broader societal and economic issues”
* “Greater ability of the political process to deal with major concerns and institution building”
* “Greater economic equality and relatively small income and wealth disparities”
Remember from the Generational Archetypes section that Winograd and Hais classify Civic generations as “dominant and outer-fixated.” This means that Civic generations are a very dominant generation that focuses on larger societal needs rather than individual needs. Winograd and Hais say that Civic generations are “reared in a highly protective manner so that an orientation to societal challenges, problem-solving and institution building marks their adult lives.” Millennials have grown up much more protected and sheltered than previous generations, particularly our immediate predecessors, Generation X. So we know at least that much is true. However, as much as this may surprise some, Millennials accurately fit this rest of this definition as well. The other nine characteristics reviewed in this section will highlight the ways in which our Civic nature is already beginning to shine through.
In a 2007 Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) study called “Millennials Talk Politics,” one young Millennial had this to say about civic engagement: “I think that civic engagement is very important whether you help others or to make a statement about society or helping a culture or a group or an organization. That engagement brings with it an awareness of issues in society that makes us all better citizens.” This quote does an excellent job of summing up how many Millennials feel about civic engagement. It is very important to us, and as we age, it will increasingly become a part of our lives. It is very likely that Millennials will indeed spearhead a new civic realignment–and by the looks of it, we already are.