Tucek remembers being a third-grader when the 9/11 attacks happened; our nation has been at war ever since. He says, "It feels as if, for the majority of my life so far, our country has lurched from crisis to crisis. And so, politics is really something I wanted to get involved in. I have an interest here. I want to make a difference." Bayley agrees: "The country isn't going to run itself. We need good people."
"What we need to do," Tucek suggests, "is empower our generation to approach politics in a way that's conciliatory and values compromise, without being insulting or refusing to talk to the other side."
All three are now regional directors of The Can Kicks Back, which grew to 80 chapters for college students and young professionals in less than a year. They've got 1,000 volunteers signed up since fall, a petition movement to demand action from lawmakers, a good website at TheCanKicksBack.org ("The Debt Is Too Damn High" is its slogan), and a very active social media presence.
There is no AARP for young people. But we might be witnessing the start of a bipartisan counterweight to it—a balance that has been missing for a long time. These young people have the smarts, the can-do attitude, and the time to get us off the unsustainable path we're on now. As Tucek puts it, everything we need to get our country back on track is right here. We know what the solution will be, it's just a question of political will. This generation has it.