There are members of each generation who believe that the preceding and following generations of theirs, and the members of those generations, are substandard in every way compared to what they believe was the perfect period to grow up in: theirs.
As a product of the seventies and eighties, I’ve heard members of the Baby Boom generation belittle my peers and myself for such petty subjects as the new music that we listened to, to our perceived lack of a work ethic, to our clothes. In their opinions, all of our faults were going to lead to the downfall of civilization.
In fact, I’d heard that the term “Generation X” was meant as an expression of disappointment that the generation that I’d grown up with didn’t accept the radical leftist/socialist philosophies that had been – and in some cases, still are – the battle cry of the leftist militants who tried to give an entire era of young adults a reputation of embracing Marxism disguised as anarchy; perception that that generation believed that the end justifies the means.
While the act of older people jabbing younger generations in a proverbial sense is more of a hazing ritual, it seems as if this new generation of young people is the subject of magnified attacks, thanks to this new Internet thing.
It is hard for me to use the term “Millennials” to describe this newest generation, since the people in the media, or whoever has taken it upon themselves to assign names to new generations, has been handing out such uninspired tags as Generation X, Generation Y, and yes, Baby Boomers and Millennials.
Writing-off an entire generation as a result of the actions of a few – actions that are chosen by the accuser to reinforce his or her prejudices – is nothing more than intellectual complacency.
If anybody from those older generations wants to label an entire generation as a collection of fragile, lazy, closed-minded, snowflakes, then who is responsible for raising that generation to believe that existing in such a manner is an option?
When video footage of university students crying, and demanding counseling after being exposed to a different opinion than their own is broadcast, who is questioning the intentions of those students’ teachers? Are those students the victims of “helicopter parents?” Helicopter parents are more like partners who have co-mingled their genetic by-products for the sole purpose of continuing the species, not advancing it. Those people are more like DNA donors than parents.
Those helicopter parents have taken it upon themselves to protect their offspring from such dangers as playground equipment, tools, anything with an edge that could result in bruising or broken skin, and the biggest threat possible: the ability to exercise discretion.
And, one step behind those helicopter parents are militant leftist, children of the sixties, who instead of crying on campus, were using force to take control of their colleges, and resorted to violence in the form of such organizations as the Weather Underground, and the Black Panthers, to advance their causes via terror, riots, bombings, rigging police cars to explode, threatening members of the military, as well as police officers, and subverting Christianity.
To the dismay of such disappointing representatives of those older generations, there are many more examples of families with loving parents who had chosen to raise their children in an attempt to help them become better people than they are, not tools to advance socialist agendas.
When I had a chance to visit a high school within my former high school district about ten years after my graduation, I’d felt sorry for the generations that would follow mine. This wasn’t because of their music, or clothes. Instead, I’d noticed that schools had become slightly prison-like, due to the manner in which school administrators had chosen to address the possibility of violent actions within those schools.
However, stepping into that high school – and my former grade school about two years ago – it was not hard to notice that the steps taken to “secure” those schools had the unintended consequence of depriving students of some of the basic skills necessary to develop their senses of discretion, responsibility, and the building blocks toward independence.
However, from my adolescent years on up, I had noticed that there were individuals in academia, journalism, and entertainment who wanted to nudge or scare younger generations into submission.
During Ronald Reagan’s administration, I remember songs, news reports, and television specials, such as The Day After, that were intended to create the perception that a nuclear war was inevitable. Instead of worrying about nuclear devastation, I laughed along to Weird Al Yankovic’s Christmas at Ground Zero.
During the Bill Clinton years, I do not remember any pop-culture-generated threats such as nuclear war. There was though, the pop culture backlash against the Republican majority in both houses of Congress, which, according to liberals who had the ear of the media, was going to starve schoolchildren, and the elderly. And, those Republicans were going to crush the middle class.
However, there were mass murders within schools at that time which not only lead to the “containment concept” of school security that we have today, but to the theory-treated-as-fact that inanimate objects – guns – and not the murderers behind the triggers, were responsible for murders.
Today, my biggest fear is receiving little attention from those who had told me long ago to fear that warmonger who avoided a war, Ronald Reagan. That fear is the unmentioned consequences of living in a country with unprotected borders.
I fear crime, diseases that were once controlled, voter fraud, and other issues that threaten all of us Americans, regardless of when we had grown up.
Every generation has more in common than they have differences. Every generation has parents who perceive their children as a second chance, which is the ability to hijack their children’s childhoods for the sole purpose of trying to live theirs “the way that they believe they should have lived theirs.
Unfortunately, hindsight in the hands of those people is a curse. Those parents have sanitized the past, and try to force their children to squeeze into that unrealistic mold of “what was supposed to be for me.”
There are also adults who exploit the minds of children in the hopes of either advancing a political agenda, or creating a new generation of intellectually-lobotomized consumers.
In 2004, former Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell, son of Colin Powell, described Americans who listen to radios, watch televisions, and read newspapers not as Americans, but as consumers when he supported allowing the few post-Telecommunications Act of 1996 conglomerates to own even more media outlets, thereby almost eliminating competition within telecommunications industry.
Every generation has its examples of what could go wrong when unqualified parents, musicians, journalists, politicians, bureaucrats, business leaders, and academic types try to fill young minds with an agenda instead of an education. Fortunately, there is still time to save this generation from the substandard disappointments of the older generations.
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