Austin Communications
Political Consulting Media Affairs Crisis Management Curson & Austin Advertising Store Contact

ROBB AUSTIN'S TURN

Egyptian Youth Revolt Coming This Way

February 3, 2011

Much of the country remains focused on the continued drama and violence in the Middle East – specifically what is going on in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt – and the attempted overthrow of the government regime there.

Some wonder what this has to do with the United States.

While the answer is obvious, namely the orderly flow of oil, which the United States and other countries require to function in a civilized society, the revolt is symptomatic of a much deeper, more serious problem.

Citizens throughout the world are frustrated with their governments, and many, to put it more harshly, hate the image of ruling class officials, who they believe are not meeting the needs of rank and file citizens.

In our country, people see the government as intrusive, abusive, corruptive, and way out of whack.

One doesn’t have to look too far to understand the severity of the problem. The Tea Party movement stems from the belief that the federal government is spending far beyond its means and is overly intrusive in our daily lives.

The Tea Party revolt resulted in the November election massacre against the party in power – the Democrats.

There is however something more alarming going on, and it almost certainly will come to fruition in the years ahead, and depending on your own longevity, one may or may not live to see it.

The idea of a revolution of some sort is growing here, too. Young people are tuning the government out. They see no relevance to it; instead they see a big, cumbersome, ineffective, and careless bureaucracy that serves as an unwanted nanny and an impediment to their daily lives.

For now it has manifested itself through a complete dropout or interest in politics. But that will change one day, and the result may resemble what we see going on in Egypt where the youth movement finally boiled over and culminated into revolution.

Egyptian unemployment is said to be over 30 percent and the government is seen as a dictatorship – benevolent as it is. There are no jobs and the government controls every aspect of daily life. That feeling exists here, too.

Young people feel powerless, and many must live at home well into their 20s or 30s. They face staggering student loan debt that will take years to payoff, and are resigned to the realization that their education provides little or no guarantee of future employment.

The high unemployment rate among young people in Egypt is now being called the "ticking time bomb” that set off the revolt. Political analysts in this country are slow to see the comparisons.

Our own government will do well to hear this message long before youthful indifference to politics turns into a movement not unlike what we see on the streets in Egypt.

The Tea Party movement is just the beginning. Its members are demanding less government, not more, and they want the local, state, and federal governments to stop the spending spree, and get out of their lives.

Young people believe much the same thing but are not part of that movement yet. They also want freedom from what they believe is a repressive government, a dictatorship of sorts, albeit a benevolent one called a “democracy”.

It’s only a matter of time until the voice of American young people will want to be heard, and when that happens Washington may look more like Tahrir Square than a tea party.

Republicans, Democrats, hope and change notwithstanding.