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America, don’t give up on Gen Z

Unsplash/Nicolas Lobos
Unsplash/Nicolas Lobos

“Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction,” Ronald Reagan declared in his 1967 inaugural speech as California governor.  “It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.”

And that brings us to the current generation: Gen Z. Is it fated to be the last generation to live in freedom?

It’s hard to be overly optimistic given all recent news headlines. Here are just a few examples:

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This is just a small selection of what’s being put out there — the point being that many have seemingly given up on Gen Z. This is my generation, and I’ll admit that even I have wanted to write us off as a result of these continuous, pessimistic declarations. They’re plastered everywhere.

“Giving up” appears to be the most suitable option in today’s climate. However, before conceding, I urge you to consider this question: Is Gen Z really a lost cause, or might my generation actually be a reason to have renewed hope in America’s future?

The state of Generation Z

So who, exactly, is Gen Z? Generation Z is comprised of all Americans born between the years 1997 and 2012, so their ages currently range from 11 to 26. In 2023, there were 69.58 million Gen Zers in the U.S., which makes them the second largest generation group behind Millennials.

Nicknamed “digital natives,” Gen Z is the first generation to be immersed in Internet technologies from birth. These “Zoomers” have never known a world outside of computers, unlike Millennials who experienced the development of new tech.

With 57% of eligible Gen Zers enrolled in college, they are on track to become the most educated generation in history. The concerns of Generation Z also lean heavily towards social causes, most notably healthcare, mental health, economic security, civic engagement, race equity, and the environment.

Each of these characteristics double as both their greatest strength and their greatest weakness.

As a Gen Zer myself, I can assure you that all hope is not lost. In my 18 years of life, I have been blessed with many opportunities, but none have compared to the weight of being called to be a representative of my entire generation. Since my graduation from Delmarva Christian High School in May, I have appeared on Fox News five times as a member of a “Gen Z Voter Panel.”

Coming out of these interviews, I have been filled with abundant hope for our nation — and not just from the fact that Gen Zers are “passionate” and “educated.” It stems from much more than that.

A Zoomer’s most influential trait is their awareness — an awareness that breeds motivation and motivation that yields action. At the same time, this motivation loathes manipulation. When Gen Z feels as though they are being used unfairly, they often withdraw themselves from both the situation and the system manipulating them. In terms of America’s future, this is the worst-case scenario. The United States needs Gen Z to engage in civic discourse. We may be the generation that deeply cares about making a difference in this world, but this enthusiasm is greatly stifled when manipulation is a force.

The fact of the matter is: Gen Z will either make or break us. They are the next generation, the future of America. We must accept that and rally behind them — while also standing firm in biblical truth.

In the upcoming 2024 election, Millennials and Gen Z will represent nearly 50% of all eligible voters. The question is not whether Gen Z will respond to their newfound civic duty but how.

National headlines suggest Gen Z is essentially an ideological copycat of its generational predecessor, Millennials: liberal and progressive. However, recent studies suggest otherwise.

Among Gen Z males, the future appears to be conservatism. The last three classes of 12th-grade boys — graduates from 2020 to 2023 — have been the most conservative of the last 40 years. This is progress. The current is changing, and it is pushing young men to the right.

The same cannot be said about Gen Z women, who lean heavily towards liberalism; only 12% identify as conservative.

Our society cannot thrive if only men are championing conservative ideals. It’s no secret that male audiences are drawn to male voices and female audiences are drawn towards female voices. This is a fact. So, let’s lean into it.

In today’s world, young people do not watch cable TV or listen to the radio. We gain much of our information online. We watch YouTube videos. We listen to podcasts. The most influential conservative leaders on these platforms, however, are men — Ben Shapiro, Charlie Kirk, Dennis Prager, Steven Crowder, Jordan Peterson, and Tucker Carlson. Hence, the reason it’s men who are mainly reached.

We cannot afford to give up on Gen Z females.  A society without conservative women will only yield a society infiltrated with radical feminists, sexual rebels, and uninvolved mothers. None of these will benefit culture in the end. However, this is exactly where we find ourselves today.

The simple solution is that more women need to step up and engage other women with conservative ideas. Women must be reached, as women reach other women the best. This has nothing to do with ignoring traditional gender roles or promoting progressive ones. It has everything to do with reaching women for the sake of preserving conservatism, biblical values, and in turn, America.

We need role models — of both genders — who are committed to engaging their personal connections and online followers in politics. If you are a young conservative woman, be a voice of reason for your fellow female Gen Zers. Build your foundation on biblical truth. Record a video. Create content. Post it online. Tell others why you believe in conservatism as opposed to liberalism. Educate yourselves — so you can educate others. Though this may start out slow, it is bound to gain steam in due time.

To continue seeing noteworthy change, we must reach the unreached and those who have withdrawn due to having their feelings manipulated. Though this is a very real problem, thankfully, it is one where each one of us can contribute to the solution.

Gen Z, you must decide

If Gen Z chooses to take the easy way out — by blindly accepting the words of others as “truth” instead of intentionally searching for “the Truth” — they will follow in the footsteps of progressive Millennials, and the “point of no return” will arrive, much sooner than later. Why? Because America is in the “if we can keep it” moment, as Benjamin Franklin predicted. Time and time again, history suggests this. The greatest empires have lasted, on average, 250 years. In 2023, America celebrated its 247th birthday.

The great Roman Republic came to its demise due to corruption in all spheres of life, polarizing division, and foreign invasion. Sound familiar?

Although our nation may be falling apart and yearning for immediate cultural intervention, economic relief, social rejuvenation, and spiritual revival, Gen Z can help turn things around. We can’t do it by giving up on ourselves, as many have done on our behalf. We must choose to get involved.

Gen Z has a decision to make. We can agree with the seeming majority and say, “America is a lost cause.” Or we can refute that narrative and insist, “We have a republic which we must keep.” I urge Gen Z to choose the latter.

How can we Gen Zers make a difference? For starters, we must focus on the issues, not the candidates. Start with building your worldview upon the objective, infallible Truth — the Word of God.

Next, find an issue you are passionate about and step out of your comfort zone: educate yourself, study the issue(s), and talk to others about it. Gen Z needs to hear from fellow Gen Zers. Nobody wants to feel alone in the fight. Everyone craves comfort in their community.

That’s why Gen Z must surround themselves with a network of like-minded young patriots — both male and female. This not only provides a means of encouragement, but it is also a way to keep each other accountable in the highs and lows of political engagement.

I have done this in my own life. By finding individuals I can trust, rally together with, and debate and refine ideas, I have been blessed with the refreshing realization that I am not in this alone. There are indeed others out there who are burdened for the same causes and truly want to see change. I am thankful for the connections Patriot Academy, Turning Point, Leadership Institute, and Liberty University have each provided me.

But as much as Gen Z needs each other, Gen Z needs you too, America.

America, you must confide

If we are going to make any positive difference in the broken world we live in, Gen Z needs help. Grandparents, parents, and mentors: You each have a part to play.

We need your wisdom. We need your advice. We need your leadership. Just as your parents and mentors did for you, we need you to pour into us, so that we can turn around and invest in our nation. As you once received, now you must give. You must keep the cycle going. How? Three things:

  • Confide in the young people around you. Have a conversation with them. Get to know them and invest in them.
  • Don’t let the negative headlines define your perception of them. Ask questions. Learn how they think. Share your wisdom with them.
  • Encourage them in the fight for freedom by expressing your love of America and recounting stories of America’s greatness and great Americans you have personally known.

This is the best way to activate Gen Z — hearing from loved ones and trusted friends and family like you. We flock to you for a reason. We trust you. Use your influence to impact us, so we can change the course of our nation’s future.

Church, you must also take advantage of this opportunity. Step in and reach out to Gen Z. A healthy congregation is not comprised of only one or two generations. It is full of generational diversity — from crying toddlers to rebellious teenagers to newlywed couples all of the way to the marriage veterans and those in their sunset years. The church must have members of all ages. Use this window as an open door to give the greatest gift you ever received yourself — the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Seize the moment. Fulfill the Great Commission. Train up the next generation. Serve your Savior. Leave a legacy defined by your love for freedom in Christ and country.

Christian, speak life

Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. famously said:

“Train the next generation of Young Champions for Christ in every imaginable vocation, who would take the Christian worldview and Gospel in the marketplace, the ministry and all of America, and would oppose political liberalism and economic socialism in favor of the Judeo-Christian ethic and political conservatism.”

This begins with the family. Families first must instill biblical values in the lives of their children. Passing on a biblical worldview must be a priority. As each child grows up and begins to understand the world we live in, these biblical principles will translate into conservative views on issues and, in turn, votes for the candidates that align most with their biblical values.

Train your kids to be “Champions for Christ” in hopes that one day they too will train those who come after them to be Champions for Christ. Our nation depends on champions training new champions.

This is exactly what a broken America needs right now: Champions for Christ who are ready to enter all spheres of life, politics included, to fulfill the Great Commission by reaching and training others to be Champions for Christ in all they do.

So, Gen Z, I urge you to take up this call to action. Be a Champion for Christ. Inspire and train others to do the same. Take the stand for freedom now, or you will one day bow your knee before tyranny. It’s your choice. Stand today, and your nation will thank you tomorrow. Your nation needs you. Your fellow Gen Zers need you.

But we need you, too, grandparents, parents, and mentors. Because, ultimately, as much as you need us for the future of our nation, we first need you. Lead the way today, so we can lead the way tomorrow.

After all, isn’t it Christians who are called to speak life instead of death? If we choose to speak death over a whole generation — and, in turn, over our nation — who will speak life? It surely isn’t the side advocating for the murder of innocent babies.

So, I ask again: Do you believe in Gen Z, or have you already given up on us? Remember, Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Speak wisely.

I urge you, America, don’t give up on Gen Z. If you do, they will surely give up on you too. And if that happens, everyone will lose.

Originally published at the Standing for Freedom Center. 

Christian Hodges is a freshman at Liberty University with plans to earn a degree in Business Administration & Data Analysis: Finance and graduate in 2027 with an MBA in Leadership. 

Before coming to Liberty, Christian sought trainings to engage with politics on behalf of his faith and even published a book, titled America, Don’t Give Up, at just 17 years old. 

Christian’s book serves as an urgent call to action for all Americans, especially Generation Z and Millennials, to protect freedom of speech at all costs. He hopes to change the landscape of American politics as we know it today through his firm stance on biblical truth. 

Christian currently serves as a communications intern for the Delaware Republican Party, and his previous internship experience includes Burris Logistics, the Delaware Family Policy Council, and the Delaware House of Representatives. He has been featured on “Fox & Friends First,” “Fox & Friends,” and “Real America’s Voice,” in addition to local Delaware news outlets. 

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