Photo courtesy of Google
By Brian McKay
It has been the MO of generations throughout time that the conservative factions of older generations view the younger generations with an air of contempt. New ideas are seen as suspect whereas they go against the grain of what had worked in some context previously. Surely, the next generation can’t be as smart or as motivated as the one the made the world they are coming into, right? When a younger person is essentially saying, “We are going to change this.”, it threatens the ego of those that wanted to believe the world they leave behind is the right one. Humanity has a hard time realizing that the right world has never been left behind. It’s not personal, just impossible.
Those watching social media this last week have seen frequent lament of the generations Y and Z in the old familiar terms of derision. They do the Tide Pod Challenge, wear pink vagina hats, are lazy, expect to be taken care of, behave in an entitled manner, are all snowflakes, are corrupted by violence in video games and film, turning away from God and the list goes on and on. Once again, a generation unwilling to simply look backward is making the statement that they are offended by younger people not appreciating what they have done for them. In their delusions, the older generations will even have those that espouse the ridiculous conspiracy of “crises actors” because they can’t believe these kids could be rebelling. No morons, it’s not the Deep State. It’s a long overdue social movement and you helped bring it about.
The same people that can’t recall the last time they looked in their high school year book and gasped at the amount of perms and mullets, embrace the thought, “we are the ones that did everything right”. You never did supremely stupid shit? It might be time to reflect on your life.
Some political scientists had often forecasted 2017 as a turning point. Seen through a lens of complacency, the financialization of America and a statistical trend line spanning decades of both peace and uprising, 2017 was forecast to be the start of the next period of upheaval. I had frequently written about it during 2016, before the outcome of the election was even in site. My daughter had braced herself for the music to become really good and more creative as the world moved toward greater strife and tumult.
ONE MUST WONDER IF WE HAD ANY IDEA IT WOULD GET THIS CRAZY AND THIS FAST.
America finally went off the deep end and it was evident to our kids everywhere. We were the long, slow casualty of the Cold War and the mythological America created to battle it. Many thought we had won back in 1990, but we had won a battle against others through perpetuation of myths and inappropriate stigma that would continue to rot us from the inside out. Rot eventually comes to the forefront.
No one ever wants to admit their country is failing. It’s hard to conceive that nativism, a propensity toward authoritative government and bigotry can masquerade as patriotism. No one ever saw this amount of hypocrisy in actual control of an entire country. When a teenager sees the man in the most powerful office in the world creating ridiculous tweets and behaving like someone less intelligent and mentally stable than themselves and their friends, is it any wonder they have to question things? Add in a surge in mass killings, science denial, parents toiling in low wage jobs and an environmental disaster yet to destroy their futures, and fresh eyes will see fresh ways of thinking. Pandora isn’t going back in the box.
Current generations have grown up with and openly accept the very diversity, sexual openness and move toward strong science and logic that they have watched the MAGA crowd call the “culture wars”. For our kids, there is no war there and they see no logic in why people perceive one as being fought. The parents deriding what they see as liberalism inherent in the schools, don’t realize that it isn’t inherent liberalism but the new reality in a changing society they don’t control, despite how much they may wish to.
If one doesn’t like the new political power being shown by generations Y and Z in ways no generations have since the 60’s, they might want to look at what they did to contribute to the pendulum before it swung back. No prior generations had the luxury of growing up in the time of unrivaled military power in their country and a lack of strong external threats to divert their attention and scare them. They had a chance to focus within on issues of advancement and dysfunction in a manner not conflicted by the needs of the internal propaganda necessary during a Cold War. What they see from the generations still longing for that propaganda push, has made no sense to them.
SOME OF THOSE THINGS INCLUDE:
A recession like no economic downturn since the Great Depression. They were privy to financial greed on an epic scale and saw that those hurt the most were those in the most vulnerable positions. As a result, they are privy to more economic stratification within their schools than prior generations saw as the lines between the have and have nots once had higher specific geographic demarcation.
Their friends are diverse as differences in race, ethnicity and sexual orientation don’t matter to them. That racism, extreme Christian exaltation and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has exploded among older generations after the 2016 election, scares them. Seeing friends and family experience higher stress levels due to this, has them wondering what the hell is wrong with their elders.
They have seen the continual exponential explosion of scientific advancement and the excitement that comes with it. This exponential increase is internalized in them. To watch their elders, engage in conspiracy theories and bad logic instead of trying to understand science and technology, and to their generation’s detriment, leaves them with feelings of disdain.
The ravages of blatant consumerism are evident to them as they see people fighting on Black Friday for tv’s at WalMart. They are well aware that the people fighting over those tv’s are also using more resources than the planet can support and will leave their generation with nothing.
An explosion in debt spending world wide to keep capitalism afloat, scares them. That’s debt that will be their responsibility with few ways to pay for it except extreme austerity. At the same time, they see US military spending exploding but witness the extreme depravity of the Republican Party cutting much smaller social programs. This generation knows that it isn’t sinful to be poor as they grow up in a US of massive economic disparity and where the greatest predictor of economic success is the family one is born into. To them, the idea that anyone can be anything in America, is ridiculous.
They know a world without work is coming and we are woefully underprepared for it. Where their parents could decide what they wanted to be, young people in America have to ask, “Will there still be such a job and how long will I have it before a machine takes over?”
And lastly, the recent catalyst has been the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Over the last several years, our younger people have been witness to numerous mass slaughters, with four of the largest happening in the last two years. Is it any wonder that this generation hears the term “thoughts and prayers” but sees no action and wonders if their elders are just insane?
The list goes on and on and on, unfortunately. Because of what older generations are shaping to become their world, they are also reflecting it as generations unlike any before them. For the first time in American history, whole generations are eschewing things for experiences. They want smaller homes. Many don’t even bother to get driver’s licenses. The sharing economy is a thing for them. Shopping isn’t their therapy.
THESE KIDS ARE NOT THOSE OF US THAT CAME BEFORE THEM. THEY ARE THE BACKLASH TO WHAT OLDER GENERATIONS HAVE LEFT THEM.
So, before you pull the Tide Pod Challenge out of your ass on social media again, take a look at the partial list above and ask yourself, “How could I honestly expect them to want to be like everyone before them?” Ask yourself how anything we leave them to inherit should possibly instill any desire to maintain the institutions of society as they currently stand.
They aren’t like us. They won’t be. This will be a generation that exerts political and social power like none before it. We are leaving them pure crap and they don’t want it. To watch them start exerting power before all they have is nothing, is exciting.