A Future Not So Bright?


Chase Timmerson

America’s political leaders are old enough to be great grandparents. And today’s teens have noticed.

Chase Timmerson, News Editor

Teens today are no stranger to polarizing politics and economic concerns in the United States. Whether it is contentious presidential elections, inflation, or gun violence, students are constantly exposed to the sometimes toxic politics of America.

High schoolers in today’s society are increasingly concerned about the current political and economic state of the United States. Students are worried about the increasingly high age of those serving in Congress, economic headwinds, and the political divisions that have worked its way into everyday American life.

Teens today are concerned about the age of those in power in the United States. Sophomore Mikhaela Titus said, “All of our politicians are too old and do not represent the future of America.” 2023’s Congress is one of the oldest in the country’s 246 year history.

According to NBC, in the United States the average age of a member of the House of Representatives is 57.5 years old, and in the Senate the average age is 63.9 years old. The President will be 82 years old at the end of his first term and 86 years old at the end of his second term, if he decides to run for reelection. Although the Legislative and Executive Branch represents the older generations of America, it fails to provide representation of peoples age 50 and below, especially younger generations such as Millennials and Gen-Z.

The 2020 Census reported Millennials and Gen-Z make up about 42% of the United States population. Many teens feel voiceless in what policies are introduced and signed into law by Congress because of the lack of representation for younger generations. Sophomore Kyra Malhotra says, “I feel like there is no one to voice how younger people feel about policies. Even though we can not vote does not mean we do not have an opinion.”

I feel like there is no one to voice how younger people feel about policies. Even though we can not vote does not mean we do not have an opinion.

— Kyra Malhotra

The 118th Congress will be the first with a Gen-Z member to voice the issues most important to young citizens today. Though Maxwell Frost’s election to Congress at 26 is a step in the right direction, his single vote will not cancel policy that could negatively affect the future generations of America. A majority of high school students today are unable to vote, but that does not mean their opinion should be ignored by those in power.

High school students in NAI are clearly worried about the state of American politics today. From a survey of NAI students 76.7% of students said the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction. An overwhelming majority of students saying the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction highlights the pessimism within NAI and the generations as a whole.

Sophomore Norah Kennedy says, “I’m worried for the future if the country keeps going in this direction.” Students also are not confident in the future of the United States. A staggering 40% of respondents said they were not confident in the future of the country, while 23% said they were.

When students were asked about the biggest problems facing the country they answered with political division, inflation, climate change, and ignorance. Some of the biggest problems among young people today are neglected to be addressed by those in power. Sophomore Abby Deitrick says, “The political divide today is worrying, and those in power only want to help themselves and their party.” Politics has become increasingly more partisan over the past few years. According to Pew Research Center, almost 50% of voters for the Republican and Democratic party see the opposing party as a threat to the nation’s wellbeing.

Adam Tran, a sophmore, went further in depth on what he thinks the biggest problems today are, saying, “I am worried for my future, and my family with the inflation that is happening.” According to CNBC, inflation peaked in June of 2022 at 9.1%, the highest it had been since the 1980’s. Families across the country and within the school district were forced to make hard decisions to cut costs in the economic environment.

Tran went further to say he felt like congress and President Biden failed to act to help families struggling with inflation. Though teenagers can not yet vote, many still feel the effects of some of the most pressing problems in today’s society such as inflation.

When students were asked to describe the country in one word they answered divided, chaotic, troubled, and broken. An anonymous student went further in depth on their answer saying the country is chaotic and is going in a million different directions. The most common response to the survey question was shameful, perfectly summing up the view high schoolers have of the United States current political state.

High school students are clearly aware of how divided the U.S. currently is . Though many teenagers would rather be aimless scrolling on TikTok or Instagram, NAI’s students are clearly aware of the current state of America, and according to the them the future does not look bright .