While my generation had every advantage, and has had a great run, theirs has been beaten down from the beginning.
I keep waiting for millennials to revolt, but it hasn’t happened yet. Most seem passive, withdrawn. They blame themselves for their fate. Emotionally they’re older than I am. It’s like they’re waiting for death.
In their early years millennials were taught to live in fear. Fear of going outside. Fear of strangers. Fear of crime. They were programmed through “activities” and disappeared from the streets. They were never allowed to be children, to play with and trust other children, unsupervised.
Their education was a rat race, an all-against-all competition in which every flaw of every child was magnified, identified, then left untreated. If you had ADHD, you were a troublemaker. If you were passive, you were warehoused. Government used numbers to claim improvements and hand out cash. The Atlanta school district created counterfeit numbers, and the children were left behind.
This generation came of age just as the economy collapsed, in 2008. They competed for jobs in an age of credentialism. Get your diploma, get your master’s, get a Ph.D. Never mind learning to be creative, or joyful, about how the real economy worked or how to do a job. Can’t get into a good school? Go to a for-profit one.
Couldn’t get a degree, couldn’t get a job? Get a gig. Be your own boss. Drive for Uber. Freelance. Never mind that you don’t know how to run a business. Let the boss do that. Never mind that you’re not even making minimum wage, that you have no benefits, nor hope of any, that you can’t repay your student loans, never mind own your own home. You’re an entrepreneur!
Then came COVID. Then came the lockdowns. Parents had their careers, could work at home, but our kids, now grown, were left alone. Money dried up and they hung around the house. Failure of any kind took them to their beds, unable (because of the pandemic) to find other chances, people their own age, any life at all.
Now the world is opening, but there’s a new generation ready to take advantage. Generation Z. Born into the world of 9/11 but largely unaffected. Young, hungry, ready to take on the world. Just what employers want. Those 30-somethings? They’re old, they’re yesterday’s news. Let them fend for themselves.
There’s a quiet revolt brewing, just under the surface of American society. It’s not like the Tea Party. They’re not worried about losing something they never had. I don’t know what form this revolt will take, but I can feel the anger. I share it, but I’m too old to participate.
After all, I’m the problem.