FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials

by

This summer I caught up with an old friend from college by phone. We hadn’t been in touch since the 1990’s, so had a lot to talk about it. We got into politics, of course, and he mentioned that “our turn” – that is, Generation X’s – is coming up, as the Baby Boomers are reaching the end of their run.

That’s true. Gen Xers are increasingly in positions of leadership in business and government, and in art and culture we took the reins long ago. This is probably the last or second-to-last presidential election that will be contested exclusively among Boomers. Especially given this year’s candidates, I believe I can speak for much of Generation X when I say, “It’s about time!”

About time that the Boomers get out of the way, that is. But not necessarily for Gen X to step up. As I have reflected on my conversation with my college buddy over the last few months, I have come to believe that even though we have the right of way, so to speak, that we should yield and hand the torch directly to the Millennials instead.

Previous generations have made quite a mess of the world, to put it mildly, and the multiple crises that we face today threaten all life on earth. Nuclear radiation, pesticides, deforestation, water and air pollution, all produced for the purpose of profit: these are the legacies of the “Greatest Generation” and the Boomers. Not only is there no chance that the Millennials will “do as well” as their parents economically, it is plausible that they won’t live lives that are as long either. Climate Change might already be on a runaway track, with lethal conditions inevitable in the near future. Things are looking grim.

I see this situation and look at my generation, and it strikes to me that we are not up for the task. Enough of us benefited from the status quo that there is no collective desire to change it. We just want to tinker with the tuning and ignore the engine. We lack imagination, inspiration and idealism. We are already done trying.

We are also behind the times. We needed to be convinced that gays weren’t perverts, that blacks weren’t crooks and that women were fully human. The Millennials grew up in a different world. Sexuality, race and gender that isn’t hetero, white and male is no big deal to them. There’s nothing scandalous about a mixed race couple of whatever orientation.

“56% of millennials in their late teens and 20s said they had no problem with same-sex relationships. Only 26% of Gen Xers felt the same way when they were that age, as did a mere 21% of baby boomers” (Changes in American Adults’ Sexual Behavior and Attitudes, 1972–2012)

Politically, the massive support for Bernie Sanders among Millennials was a bright sign, even given his limitations (namely, his refusal to address imperialism and the military industrial complex). The Millennials don’t have much interest in Hillary or Trump. In fact, according to a poll just released by UMass Lowell, “nearly a quarter of Americans ages 18 to 35 would rather see a giant meteor strike the Earth than see either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House.”

Frankly, that settles it for me! That’s some clear vision compared to the myopia of my Generation X.

Unconvinced? Here’s some details about the Millennials (sources listed at end of article):

43% non-white
Best educated generation in US history
Only 1/4 are married; 44% say that marriage is becoming obsolete
More tolerant of races and groups than older generations (47% vs. 19%)
Less religious
Views of media growing more negative
61% “worried about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to make a difference”
92% “believe that business success should be measured by more than just profit”
83% “agreed with the statement, ‘there is too much power concentrated in the hands of a few big companies,’” which is higher than all other generations
64% “would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring”
88% “prefer a collaborative work culture rather than a competitive one”
These are helpful characteristics and admirable traits for the challenges that face us. By 2020, Millennials will make up 40% of the electorate so we could be in for a big shake-up. I for one would welcome that!

Of course, some people will insist that the Millennials aren’t ready for leadership, that they are too young. My counter to that is simple: Letting the geezers run things certainly hasn’t been working out too well, has it? And we Gen Xers are already over-the-hill. Old dogs can’t learn new tricks, and it’s new tricks that we desperately need now.

A Millennial that I met recently asked me if I thought it’s true that people get more conservative as they age.

I asked, “You mean like that old cliche, ‘Whoever isn’t liberal in their youth has no heart, but who isn’t conservative in their old age has no head?’”

She nodded.

“Yes, in this culture I think that’s usually true. But it doesn’t have to be. I myself am getting more radical with age. Your generation can break that cycle.”

She smiled, pleased at the encouragement. I was so glad I got to deliver that message.

It is true that Millennials have higher rates of depression than preceding generations. But does that have to be viewed as negative? Don’t they have more to be depressed about, after all? Perhaps they are simply less in denial. If so, and even if this sensitivity is not fully conscious, isn’t less denial essential if we are going to make the changes that need to be made in the world?

Basically, it boils down to this for me: the Millennials will be bearing the brunt of the shitstorm that the Greatest/Boomers manufactured and the Xers insist on maintaining. Let’s not make them wait to defend themselves and this beautiful planet we live on. This is our chance, fellow Gen Xers, to show that we aren’t a bunch of selfish pricks like our parents and grandparents. This could be our legacy: that we made the best choice we could by just getting out of the way.

Are you up for it? I am. Consider this my announcement that I would rather put my skills to use in a support role for the next generation than take charge as a member of my own. I really think they’ll do a better job than we can.

(I do have one request of the Millennials, though: Do you always have to put music on “shuffle”? Sometimes I want to listen to a whole “album”; you know, it’s a collection of music put together by a band that’s intended to be listened to in sequence from beginning to end? Aw, I guess college kids don’t listen to “Dark Side of the Moon” anymore, do they? Never mind.)

* * *

Sources of Statistics:

22 Shocking Stats About Millennials to Help You Chart Tomorrow’s Change
11 Facts about the Millennial Generation
74 Of The Most Interesting Facts About Millennials
29 Surprising Facts That Explain Why Millennials See the World Differently
Amid The Stereotypes, Some Facts About Millennials
Millennials section at Pew Research Center website
The paradox of millennial sex: More casual hookups, fewer partners
Clinton Gaining Among Millennials, But Obstacles Remain

Kollibri terre Sonnenblume is a writer living on the West Coast of the U.S.A. More of Kollibri’s writing and photos can be found at Macska Moksha Press

February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail