Honestly, The Millenial Hate Is Completely Misplaced
Nowadays it feels like blame millennials for others’ mistakes has become the national past time. If anything is in decline, the millennials did it. So far we’ve allegedly killed chain restaurants, brick and mortar stores, American cheese, raisins and the diamond industry.
There are think pieces that spend hundreds, if not thousands, of words pontificating about what our next steps are going to be. We’re eschewing the traditional lives our parents’ lived and it’s causing them to stand around scratching their heads about the reasons even though it’s pretty much spelled out in front of them — they are the ones who have created the messes we’re being blamed for.
So dearest baby boomers, if you could stop blaming us for your shit, that’d be awesome.
Those in the Baby Boomer generation was born during the prosperous time post-World War II. They are the generation that lived the American dream to the fullest — the white picket fence, the two and a half kids, the dog and the Cadillac car in the garage. Those born at the beginning of the generation became adults during the tumult of the 1960s — the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, and the counterculture. They then created the excessive consumption of the late ’70s and ’80s. It was during that period of excess that they began having children — the people who would come of age as we moved into the new millennium.
A good handful of the older millennials were able to make it out of college and into early adulthood before the recession hit. Others of us weren’t so lucky. I graduated from college mere months after the beginning of the recession with few job prospects. After graduation, I was forced to move home for several years while I worked a string of customer service jobs that only paid a few dollars over minimum wage. While my parents were very understanding of my situation, I was constantly reading articles about how my generation was a failure, written by the same people who had gotten us in the situation, the Baby Boomers.
Honestly, it’s kind of mind boggling that they don’t see the correlation between their coming to power and the slow corrosion of the country. Actually, it’s not surprising, and all of the names boomers like to hurl at millennials — “entitled,” “lazy,” and “narcissistic” — are actually the words they should be using when they look in a mirror.
In an interview with Vox, Bruce Gibney, who wrote the book A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America, flips the script on the tired argument that millennials are the ones who are ruining the country. According to Gibney, it’s actually the Boomers who are the ones to blame for what we’re facing.
“The boomers inherited a rich, dynamic country and have gradually bankrupted it,” he explains. “They habitually cut their own taxes and borrow money without any concern for future burdens. They’ve spent virtually all our money and assets on themselves and in the process have left a financial disaster for their children.”
Gibney’s point is what infuriates millennials the most. We’re being told to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” by a generation who has sold us boots but no laces. Millennials have been dumped into boats and told to figure out how to get back to land without much of a compass or even the oars we need to paddle the boat.
It’s no surprise that millennials are the poorest generation. Not only did most of us come into adulthood with crushing amounts of student loan debt, but finding jobs has been difficult — forcing many of us to work shitty jobs with crap pay and no benefits, or work multiple jobs just to keep a roof above our heads. And then we’re still expected to stimulate the economy by having families, buying houses and cars, going out to dinner, and shopping. Add another stamp to the blame millennials bingo game.
Gibney also notes, “The major factor is that the boomers grew up in a time of uninterrupted prosperity. And so they simply took it for granted.”
As a result, we millennials are now facing the consequences of their greed. Per the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American infrastructure — stuff like bridges and tunnels, drinking water, ports, roads, etc. — is shot. Our infrastructure has something close to a $4 trillion deficit in deferred maintenance in infrastructure. Considering that the Boomers have had the majority of political power since 1993, who can we blame for such a high deficit?
But here’s the thing, Boomers have reached the point where they have regressed into petulant children and blame millennials. “The irony is that boomers criticize millennials for being snowflakes, for being too driven by feelings,” notes Gibney. “But the boomers are the first big feelings generation. They’re highly motivated by feelings and not persuaded by facts.”
It explains a lot, don’t you think? They are the same people who mounted protests, burned draft cards in public spaces, threw bricks into bar windows and burned their bras to get their point across. But they are upset that we now use Twitter to organize and take to the streets to protest many of the same injustices they were fighting back then. Except we’re not just fighting for our rights, we’re fighting to dismantle the systems in place, so we can create long-term solutions. But yes, let’s blame millennials for being “too sensitive,” shall we?
Boomers blame millennials for everything while they hold the majority of the power and are desperate to do whatever it takes to continue to do so. It’s painfully obvious they’re so intimidated by millennials. Because even though we may act with our feelings, we have the facts and figures to support our arguments. And it scares the fuck out of them.
Millennials are going to have to be the ones to clean up the mess whether we like it or not, unfortunately. And according to Gibney, none of the issues we’re faced with are going to be easy. But we can rest assured that despite claims to the contrary, we’re not the ones who actually ruined this country. We’re just the ones stuck with the toilet scrubbing brush.
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