Greetings, readers. I would like to preface this blog post with a little bit of info about myself, because I really want you to understand where I’m coming from. I’m 23 years old, grew up in a northern Virginia suburb, and have recently graduated from a four-year degree program at a state university.
According to “traditionally” established titles, I am a Millennial, a term which seems not only to be growing in popularity among sociologists, but also looked on with some skepticism by parts of the older generations. I suggested the change of appearance of Fulfilling the American Promise in the Connected Age, and also recommended that my father, Carl, broaden the spectrum of topics discussed in the blog. This widened perspective, in theory, would be more appealing to multiple demographics, and would bring the Millennial generation into play.
Most of us aren’t quite ready to enter the political arena with an established agenda for change just yet, but many of us are and have been formulating powerful opinions based on the (inter)national events of the past two presidential terms. Our best hope, in our beginning quest for a more stable political environment, is to seek a deeper understanding of current political machinations. With this information, we will know what to avoid, and where to best focus our efforts for quick, efficient, and beneficial political evolution. I would like to thank my dad for provoking my interest in this project, and am excited to be able to contribute to the blogging effort.
On this initial topic of Millennials, I have read some of the latest work from the Pew Research Center (Millennials in Adulthood). I don’t know that I would agree verbatim with what they found in the study, but they got the gist of it. I feel as though I am politically and spiritually independent, and have never really experienced a strong urge to conduct myself otherwise. I would prefer not to delve into the facets of my spiritual and political beliefs at this time, but will contend that they do play a large role in charting the course of my continued adult development.
But I digress. The biggest nit I have to pick with the “Boomer” generation can be summed up in a paraphrase of the old adage: “You talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” One of the older generations’ primary concerns, based upon observed frequency of discussion, would seem to be the preservation of an America that is “at least as good as theirs was.” What I read from Congress and state legislators, however, paints a somewhat different picture. Far from being worth a thousand words, this picture is quite the opposite; when one side presents an idea about looking out for the interests of the future generations, the other side fires back, using the ever-penetrating bullets that are “cost”, “time” and “difficulties”.
If there is nothing else that the human race has collectively established, we can agree that life is difficult. It most likely always will be, and with that understanding, I’d like to take this chance to posit that change requires work, and work is often difficult. This should not be a point of contention…more of a universal constant.
Most of our perceived political leaders, scaling from community to nation, have developed a nasty propensity to argue, often to the point of producing a “product” no sane individual would clear for consumer use. I’d give the average legislative product these days a rating of 2 out of 5 stars. Frequently, the same cannot be said for our foreign policies and initiatives, begging the question of whether Congress is more interested in saving the rest of the world before America. That seems woefully unproductive, and is most certainly not conducive to the improvement of domestic conditions in any venue.
My generation, and even the one before it (Generation Y), is setting the stage for what America will be when our kids start leading the nation. With respect to current parties in power, I hope on behalf of our future leaders that our erstwhile gang can pull themselves together in the present, and courteously accommodate the transition to the next generation of movers and shakers. With your help, eventually from the sidelines, we can begin to rebuild the concept of the American Dream, and fulfill the American Promise of equal access to opportunity set forth in this blog.
Your intentions were good, Boomers, and you don’t seem to be leaving us with a completely defective product. We don’t need continued reinforcement for bad habits though, like political infighting and attempts to govern from the edges instead of the center (where our forefathers started in the late 1700s). As many of you are acutely aware, it takes a lot longer to break a bad habit than to form a good one. So you should probably get on that.
I have plenty of faith that we, as a country, can get back on track. Avoiding unnecessary wars is a good place to start, and paying a little more (read: a lot more) attention to the environment wouldn’t hurt, either…we have to live here after you’re gone. The Pew Report said that overall, Millennials are “Upbeat about the Nation’s Future”; we need your help to make sure we stay that way.
In closing, we Millennials are well aware that you have to leave us something to work with. So please consider that, while you’re arguing about politics and voting to repeal laws of the land that have already been adjudicated in the highest courts. And to the older voters who keep electing these people who represent the extreme edges of politics: please stop electing these people who represent the extreme edges of politics! They can’t distinguish between good and bad government.
America needs a responsible political system to be the best we can be; the Founders knew that, and that’s why they created a government intended to adapt and evolve with the adapting and evolving American people, from the Center out. Congress, please take some time to familiarize yourselves with an African tradition known as the Sankofa Process. Think of it as the homework you’ve been neglecting to do since you got elected. You don’t have to look back before you move forward, but avoiding this process can definitely compromise the end result.
Originally posted by Joshua Hunt, 14 March 2014.