Here’s the thing: I feel gross even saying “Oh, I’m a millennial!” It’s not something I ever want to be identified by. But alas, dear reader, I grew up in the age of the new millennium and due to that I am part of the lazy, self-entitled, senior citizens need despair because we fucked EVERYTHING UP, the American dream is gone, we wanted CHANGE so we got it and once we got it- just complained about it behind our keyboards (ha!) because we didn’t know that “Rocking The Vote” didn’t stop once Election Day was over. WE elected him and I say we broadly, because let’s face it: Obama had some serious appeal back when he was campaigning in ’07 and ’08. He was young and charismatic, talked to us like real people and not children, appeared on MTV and other channels targeted at our age group, and really connected with us. Or, so we thought. One of the highlights of my day, each day, is having my Dad explain to me what’s wrong with America while we peruse the morning’s headlines. Not because I’m some ignorant child that needs shit explained to me by my daddy, but because it’s just the whole idea of what America stood for when he was young was just…better. They still had hope then. A lot of people say we live in a “Post 9/11” world. I don’t agree. Not that 9/11 didn’t destroy lives and become a gut punch to the American people and a serious blow to our sense of safety and security that living in America had always provided us; it just started way before that. What, you may be asking? The disconnect between the American Politicians and the American people, the sense of distrust and our assumption that all Politicians lie, cheat, steal, and possibly even kill to get elected. I think we’re living in a post JFK assassination world. A post-Watergate scandal world. A post-Vietnam war world. Americans have so much information at their fingertips that we often don’t know what to believe and not to believe. I remember being a child and watching The President, the man who is supposed to represent America and our ideals and what we stand for as a country, bold-faced lie to us about sleeping around on his wife. Adultery is nothing new, I mean, it’s one of the Ten Commandments. It’s just the fact that this man, the idea of what he is supposed to represent, all the respect he commands because of his job title, his character, what he stood for, was demolished right before our (The Millenials) eyes. I’m not saying this didn’t effect all age groups, and become the conversation around every water cooler in our country. It obviously did. It was just that at an age when we were just beginning to grasp what it means to be an American, what our forefathers fought for, all the warm and fuzzy feelings the “Star Spangled Banner” and The Pledge of Allegiance elicits, we were being bombarded with information our young brains didn’t know how to handle. Early on, a sense of distrust of our elected officials was instilled in us. At the same time, we were being taught American history. We learned that this isn’t the first instance that the most powerful man in our country has lied to us. As someone who has always been fascinated with the events that transpired on November 22, 1963 (for those of you who may need that date explained, the JFK assassination), I’ve read a great deal on the topic, the conspiracy theories, etc. I don’t believe for a second that The Warren Report was true. I’m not alone in this, as we all learned last year upon it’s 50th anniversary when a poll was conducted that showed that over 60% of Americans believe that JFK’s death was part of a larger conspiracy. Also, we live in a country where the media is one fucked up institution. A media obsessed with pop culture, the latest scandal, and who wore it best. Our generation never quite knew where to get our truth from. Most of our parents felt the same way, and so that distrust was passed down to us, and by the time when we started asking questions, we had the internet and a whole new wealth of information at our disposal. We are a generation of people who are so obsessed with celebrity, that bullied kids think the only way to get noticed in this world is to come into possession of a firearm and walk into a school full of their peers and open fire. We are a generation obsessed with morbid crime shows that remind us just how evil human beings can be to one another. We are a generation full of people who have no faith in humanity, God, or our country. Our collective idea of being the disenfranchised youth has evolved into us being the adults who are now voting and not knowing who to trust, or even if trust can really ever be given to an elected official. One of JFK’s most famous speeches contained the quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Our generation asks, “What has our country ever done for us?”
In conclusion, those who love to place the current blame on our generation, should take a look at all the information that was doled out to us in our formative years and ask yourself if you’d be any different under the given circumstances. I’m not giving us an out or an excuse, I’m just saying, can you really blame us?