An Interest Group of Its Own

James Di Palma-Grisi, Columnist

photo courtesy of Wall Street Journal

The Pew Research Center polled Americans in late August on the response to the Ground Zero Mosque, a YMCA-like structure planned for construction near the World Trade Center site. Interestingly, the poll found that 51 percent of their respondents agreed that the mosque should be built somewhere else, while 62 percent of those same respondents agreed that Muslims should have the same rights as other Americans when building religious centers in local communities. The other option for those 62 percent was “local communities should be able to prohibit construction of mosques if they do not want them.”

Such strange behavior.

While the statistics reported here’s sources did not provide the demographics of respondents, I cannot help but assume that Millenials did not compile most of the poll’s respondents’ make up. Generation Y tends to agree with itself regardless of party or social beliefs on issues like the environment and the Iraq War. Before Obama’s election, a Peanut Labs poll of people aged 18-29 years old found that 89.5 percent of Generation Y support alternative fuels, and 80.5 percent, in accordance, support climate regulation. Following this rather liberal trend, 75.6 percent want to end the Iraq War, and 68.6 percent want to end it immediately and bring the troops home.

While these statistics admittedly are outdated, the broad agreement manifests itself—not only among Gen Y’ers themselves, but between issues as well. Considering how divided the rest of the country is on these issues, there seems to be a solid consistency characteristic of Generation Y.

If the numbers are to be believed, Gen Y has its opinions in order and is unified on some national concerns. Given such strong, single-minded stances on other issues, we can only assume there is some convocational factor that informs Gen Y beyond media and partisanship. I would venture to guess that since the generation appears anti-dogmatic and self-centered—according to a USA Today poll, 81% say “to be rich” is the goal of the generation; 51% say “getting famous;” 30% say “to help those who need it”—the generation will believe in a civil libertarian solution allowing the mosque.

This, of course, is conjecture awaiting confirmation or denial.


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