Thursday, June 19, 2014

Are Millennials the Next "Great" Generation?

This is in part a response to Rob Flaherty's piece on Millennials, written earlier today.

When you think of the greatest generation in recent memory, your mind probably conjures up images of those who served in World War II, and built America into the superpower that it is today. You'd be correct of course. Generations after them have had a lot to live up to, and by and large they've failed to meet the same high standards as their forebears.

That may change with us Millennials.  Am I biased because I'm part of this generation? Sure. But let's look at the facts. Under the reign of the baby boomers, we've experienced nothing but hardships. Poor, fluctuating economies, rising tuition rates, a horrific job market, constant wars, etc. This isn't entirely the fault of the boomers, though they do bear some of the responsibility since most in power are of that generation.

So what makes a generation great? Hardship. The type of hardship that creates change, that forces people to try and make something out of nothing, that convinces ordinary people to go out and achieve greatness.

I think we have it in us to do that. Sure, we have to deal with crippling student loans, a government that cares nothing for our future, and a world where America loses power by the day. Yet, in a way, this is good for us. Adversity only makes us stronger after all, and, let's face it, we've already had to deal with a veritable smorgasbord of adversity in our (relatively) young lives. 

With all the problems we have to deal with now and in the future, it's my hope that we will grow to become better people and leaders than the greedy, intractable, and moronic politicians that run our country in the present.

So, going back to that Rob Flaherty article; no, I disagree that Democrats are truly fighting for Millennials. Yes, they are far better than Republicans, who ignore us completely, but they still don't care enough to deal directly with things like high youth unemployment and ridiculous tuition rates.

We can't rely on Democrats or Republicans. It's up to us to make our own luck, to take the bull by the horns, and much like those who took down Hitler seventy years ago, try and defeat the forces threatening us in the present.

As the generations above us retire, we'll take on more responsibilities. Eventually, we'll have to use our power to take this country in a new and wondrous direction, one that leaves the partisan bickering and poor leadership of the boomers in the past. If success is our goal, the only option is to force ourselves to succeed, with or without the help of those older than us. 

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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.