“Ilana Rodham Wexler.”
In last night’s episode of Broad City, Ilana, after she’s been fired from her job, panhandles in the subway, and briefly moonlights as a bike messenger—a “BM queen”—she somehow stumbles into the Brooklyn headquarters of the Hillary Clinton campaign and becomes a volunteer. She thinks it’s a paying job, but Cynthia Nixon—still playing Miranda Hobbes essentially—tells her otherwise.
The fact that Broad City, a show who has managed to introduce the spelling “KWEEN” and “YAS,” was able to bring in a politician guest spot, and Hillary Clinton at that, and not have it be completely transparent is a massive feat. Yes, obviously, they’re stanning for her, but in the reality of the show, it doesn’t feel unrealistic. I believe that Ilana would support Hillary. I believe that she thinks Hillary is for the “caramels” and the “queers.”
In a class this week, we analyzed the rhetoric of Donald Trump. Spoiler alert, it’s incendiary. But after two minutes of attempting to discuss his words, the conversation turned into all-out political free-for-all. And it made me think about what politics means for millennials.
We are often painted as lazy. Phone-obsessed. Babied. Immature. Unrealistic. Idealistic. Naïve. Our forefathers point to social media and iPhones and the Internet as making us soft. We live with our parents. we expect things. The “everyone gets a trophy” generation.
But I’ve seen how we actually are. We process information laterally. We are searchers. We are clever. We are made idealistic but we are also reacting to the grim reality of what our forefathers have left us. We live with our parents because jobs are scarce and rents are high. We expect a lot from people, but we expect more from ourselves.
And so politics is an interesting facet of our generation. It feels like the trappings of our parents. I think of Nixon and Watergate and ‘Nam and George W. Bush. This is the first election cycle where I am an adult and eligible to vote. And so this is the first election cycle where I have educated myself.
I think that people think that millennials don’t care about politics. Or that we don’t “get” how it actually is. But I think that the fact that Hillary agreed to guest on Broad City means that millennials are interested. We are growing up in the fragments of the housing market crash, the recession, the dissolution of the traditional workplace and the burgeoning presence of an Internet age. More than anyone else, we exist in an entirely new environment.
Politics in the millennial age is a nuanced thing. We are more concerned with social issues than I think previous generations have been. We’ve grown up learning about political correctness. We care about it. The Internet has brought us closer, and created a greater empathy. We are trying to get jobs in an evolving workplace. We care about taxes, because they will affect our trajectory. We care about the promises politicians make about college. We want people to succeed. We want to succeed.
And beyond that classroom where we had a passionate, intelligent debate, I see how my peers are talking about politics. We care. We see what older people have done and how they’ve fucked up. We don’t want to make those mistakes. And so we educate ourselves. We talk about social issues, we ask about healthcare, we question taxes. We inquire. We’re passionate. We’ve become empathetic, and we want to help. We want to make things better.
And so I think Hillary on Broad City succeeded infinitely more than Trump on SNL. It didn’t feel forced. It felt cool and funny and weird. It felt authentic. Because it was.