Here Is What We Know

I am a millennial. Every so often on this blog, I write about millennials. This will be one of those articles.

A couple days ago I was at work, and on days like that I generally miss out on much of the day’s news. At the casino where I work about 90% of the non-sports they put on the televisions is Fox News, which sort of makes sense given the demographic of people who typically gamble. That is, old(er) people. But if you’ve read anything on this blog then you probably know what I think of Fox, so I won’t spend any real time criticizing it.

When I got home I went through my normal routine. I hopped on the treadmill for 20 minutes or so; I showered; I heated up some dinner and turned on ESPN to watch Scott Van Pelt’s show. Then, since I was doing only two things at once, I figured I would get on Twitter and see all the stuff I missed out on during the day.

The person who stood out, of my grand total of 33 people that I am follow, was Adam J. Morris — who is both a lawyer and runs the Texas Rangers blog for SB Nation. As far as Rangers-centric content I don’t think there is anyone better right now. What Adam wrote on Twitter was more interesting than anything else going on, particularly since the Rangers have been playing like shit of recent.

In some vague order, this was the line he was on:

Just so we’re clear on the definition of a millennial, it is generally a loose-fitting demographic. According to Tech Target, “the earliest proposed birthdate for Millennials is 1976 and the latest 2004.” So that ranges from people who are currently as young as 12, or as old as 41.

I think when most people are talking about millennials as a voting block, those who leaned heavily towards Bernie Sanders during the primary last year, it’s people between the ages of 18-35. This is presumably the group Adam is hinting at.

Since there is no serious direction to this post, I’ll just address some of his points in number sequence. I hear people like lists:

  1. I don’t disagree that, in many ways, millennials are ridiculous. But they are also right quite a bit of the time.
  2. It’s always amazing when 40-somethings or 50-somethings shit on young people for caring about climate change, or about the future of the economy. These are things that are affecting millennials right now, which, I’m sorry, is a big deal to them.
  3. The reason this problem is legitimate is two-fold: the price of college has ballooned in the last 25 years, and there aren’t nearly enough good-paying jobs available. Per Business Insider, the median income for a millennial male is $35,000 a year, while females average $30,000.
  4. In the end this dynamic actively hurts the economy. Millennials are going to school for four years and accruing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt, and then are rewarded with shit jobs where they struggle to pay back their loans — let alone pump much other cash into the economy.
  5. I feel for Adam about porn. I can’t even imagine how much I would have been writing if I was of age during the Cold War.
  6. I take it the comment about Generation X being superior to Baby Boomers and Millennials is mostly tongue-in-cheek. I hope so, anyway. Because a majority of Gen X-ers voted for Donald Trump during the general election. They aren’t a beacon of light or anything.
  7. I don’t see how it’s exclusive to Gen X-ers that they are both (a) paying into Social Security and (b) subsidizing student loans. I mean, this is affecting millennials more than any other group. After all, the general We are contributing to a Social Security system that won’t even be around by the time we are in our 60’s, and student loan debt affects us directly.
  8. Back to millennials bitching about our economic and environmental future: so what if it’s been going on for a long time? There is some insinuation there that it isn’t a worthwhile cause, since no one has done anything about it. By this logic, it’s better to not even try.
  9. Adam is right about millennials needing to appreciate their smart phones. I would argue that we are the only block using it effectively, because, after all, we were the most informed voters during the last election. We voted against corruption, and against corporate money influencing our politicians, and against the big banks, and against the major fossil fuel corporations. But the mainstream media will go ahead and blame us.
  10. We, of course, didn’t win. But that hardly makes us wrong.
  11. Again we are faced with simple questions. Would it be better to try, even if it only improves the climate by 2%, or the economy by 2%, or would it be better to just take what we are given and stop complaining? Would you rather us be aware of the problem, or would you rather we just keep our heads in the sand?

Part of the reason millennials receive so much flack, I think, is because Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers are jealous of what we had and have. We have all of the information of the world literally at our fingertips, and for the most part we have had it ever since we were old enough to access a computer.

So, yes, to that extent we have an entitlement problem. We just so happened to arrive at a time in human history when technology exploded, and in many ways we were the guinea pigs to show what comes of an entire generation with a dependency on technology. The older groups bitch since it seems like we are wasting a good thing, as if they would have been more responsible with its power. But I argue that people are people, no matter their age. There are stupid people, and there are smart people. There are inquisitive people, and there are people who don’t really care to know things.

This is true for all generations. It is not exclusive to young people simply because they were born with all the shortcuts at their disposal.

I submit that the results of this experiment are a mixed bag. Social media outlets like Facebook and YouTube and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat have reduced our discourse to a cesspool that doesn’t resemble America, or at least what it should stand for.

On the other hand, millennials are right about the main issues. We are the most colorblind when it comes to race, we are the most tolerant of people with different sexual orientations, we overwhelmingly believe climate change is manmade, and we value equality and civility over the old guard of patriotism and tradition. We also lean towards Atheism more than any other generation, which is by far the fastest growing minority in the United States. Baked into this idea that all types and ethnicities are equal, and that an overhaul in economic justice is necessary for the future of America, comes the rise of something that more closely resembles Socialism. We’re all in this together.

Both major political parties and the mainstream media — from CNN to MSNBC to Fox News — are currently fighting against this. Their number one agenda is to squash the interests of the working class, which include a $15 minimum wage, free healthcare, free college, and expanding Social Security. They use Socialism as the scare word, because if they told you everything you would get in return for paying a few more dollars in taxes, you might just like it. And liking popular ideas that are good for the working class, and middle class, are dangerous to the institutions who profit off of keeping people either uninformed or misinformed.

That is why individuals like me do not and will not get a seat at Fox News, or MSNBC, or CNN. They get their corporate lapdogs to shout dumbass questions like “Who is going to pay for it?” or “Does that mean it will be a complete government takeover?” whenever talking about Progressive ideas. It isn’t educational. It doesn’t provide you any news. It’s just said to scare you. They want to scare you into voting for more of the status quo, because they are riding the gravy train so long as the status quo is maintained. Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, two supposed liberals, are making $30,000 per show on MSNBC. How Progressive can you really be when you are making that much money? How much do you think they care about what people making $15,000 or $20,000 a year want?

Do they ever ask you “Who is going to pay for it?” when they are building bombs or manufacturing drones? Of course they don’t. They don’t tell you that 60 cents out of every tax dollar you pay the government goes to the military to build unnecessary weapons. They build them because they are in bed with defense contractors. They need to build shit with all the money they have in their war chest.

If that isn’t Socialism, I don’t know what is.

Then again, everything is upside-down.

Millennials are not perfect, but they care about changing this broken system more than any other generation. I presume Adam either (a) doesn’t understand this or (b) that he does, but he gave up and left his idealism behind a long time ago. Not sure which is worse.

Usually millennials are presented as unrealistic thinkers and dreamers, not to be taken seriously by the more seasoned Generation X and Baby Boom. This is a failing strategy that has already bitten the Democratic Party in the butt, because millennials weren’t inspired to come out and vote for Hillary Clinton. I certainly didn’t, but I definitely voted. I believe we should absolutely be taken more seriously, as the fate of the country rides on us.

We’re here to fuck shit up and clean up the mess that has been made over the last 75 years.

Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers had their own struggles to navigate through, and I’m not here to diminish any of those. But those troubles were long ago, and the people they voted in and put in place have led the country to this darkened state. They can be cynical all they want, but they were responsible. This is not on us, guys.

I’m not really here to play the blame game, because I criticize millennials as much as the next guy. I, too, think we are wasting a lot of our collective potential. But if we are comparing ourselves pound-for-pound with past generations, I’ll like my chances every day of the week. This is a war of attrition, and we are going to have to play the long game. That always has and always will be the one clear advantage young people have over the field.

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