12 March 2010

Share Your Faith Question #9: Like, Literally

John Della Volpe from the Harvard IOP discusses the results of the poll on C-SPAN

Every week---courtesy of a daily Google Alert---about 350 news stories that include the term "young adults" appear in my email inbox. Usually, by Thursday, it's apparent a theme has developed in the media coverage: based on a single poll or survey, news organizations attempt to draw an attention-grabbing, headline-worthy conclusion about the experiences and opinions of an entire generation.

This week's conclusion? Young adults  have "lost faith" in, well, basically everything: according to a poll by Harvard’s Institute of Politics---in which just over 3,000 people between ages 18 and 29 were interviewed about their "political preferences and activity," their "opinions of President Obama and Congress," and their "trust in American and international institutions"---we are "anxious," freaked out," "glum," and "pessimistic" about "the future," "the government," "the economy" and "the American Dream"; we don't trust large institutions to provide for us or to keep our best interest in mind.

I don't doubt that poll results are accurate: there is, of course, no shortage of evidence to support the idea that the country is going to hell in a hand-basket. I do wonder, though, whether such grim attitudes are sustainable. Can we stay pessimistic in the long-term, even after the economy recovers, or is a return to at least some small degree of optimism inevitable? Can our faith in things unrelated to current events help us revive our collective confidence?

This week's "Share Your Faith" question is literal: what things/concepts/institutions do you have faith in? 

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