Millennials vs the World…
An ignored generation.
During this election, there has been a lot of talk, all the while ignoring, the millennial generation. If you pay attention to traditional new outlets, we are a forgotten, or perhaps neglected, population. If you look online, to new media outlets, we are everywhere.
Today, millennials make up the largest voting generation in America. We vastly outnumber the generations that came before us and we have completely different needs and wants. We have a completely new perspective on the world and the future before us that is unlike our parents and our grandparents. We have new concerns and new struggles. We experienced things in a new way and grew up in a new era, the era of technology and instant information.
For whatever reason, the traditional media, the corporately run and cable news channels, largely ignore the millennial group, and when we are mentioned, we are not taken seriously and are called ‘naïve’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘entitled’. I would like to believe that the media are the ignorant ones, not realizing that we completely out-power every other generation that is eligible to vote. Perhaps they do realize this and are intimidated and hope we will just go away. Maybe, they just don’t care. Whatever the reason, we aren’t taken seriously and are just seen as lazy whiners.
I think the real case lies with us, and our lack of interest and participation. The fact of the matter is, although we are the largest generation that can vote, we are the least likely to show up.
But why is this? I think one of the reasons is because we have been told our entire lives that voting doesn’t matter and that there is nothing you can do to change things. We have been told over and over again, “Your vote doesn’t matter anyway”. Older generations have, unintentionally, completely stripped away any power we may have.
I am not saying that the older generations don’t have a point. As we have seen in this election, one person does not mean one vote. The elections are completely unfair, and perhaps…dare I say it…rigged? Maybe, ‘controlled’ is a better word. Our system is set up in a way to keep the status quo, with greed for power and money being the driving force.
But, we were never told that together, with a big enough voice, we can change things. There are still great things that we can do and major impacts we can have on America way of life. We were never told that if we didn’t like something, we had the power to change it.
I am also not entirely blaming our parents. This isn’t therapy. We are the ADD generation who spends half of our lives online, just waiting for the next thing to catch our attention before, once again, searching for something new and exciting.
Our World Outlook
As mentioned, the millennial generation views the world in a new, more progressive way than our parents. In great numbers, we are more likely to fight for LGBT rights, more likely to be pro-choice, and more likely to view immigration, and foreigners, more kindly.
I blame this on the way we grew up. Millennials grew up in a post-9/11 world with all the information we could ask for at our fingertips. Because of the internet, we grew up with others all around the world. We don’t just see the world as an Us vs. Them, but we see the world as a We.
For a nation, 9/11, as well as the Iraq War that followed, was one of the most tragic events to befall us and not just because of the events that took place that day, but because of how traumatic it was. It was the first event, of that magnitude, that we saw happening live…not pictures and videos that came out after tragedy struck, but as it was happening, live. There is a certain element of complete helplessness that comes along with that, that you didn’t have during events like WWI, WWII, Pearl Harbor, and others…while those changed us…this was different and it is all we know.
Yes, of course other generations were there and were also affected, but this is what shaped us. Those before us were already who they were going to be and had a sense of self. Experience shapes the people we become and, again, this is all we know. This is our experience.
This was the time that millennials grew up in. The oldest of us, remember clearly the events of that day and what was to follow. This happened just as we were coming aware of the world around us, just as we were becoming politically conscious. It shaped who we were to become. The youngest among us, those who are now 18, were too young to remember. But, we all grew up in the era that followed. We all were raised by an America we didn’t entirely trust. We grew up in the time of pointless war, government surveillance and torture at American hands.
Technology has also impacted us in ways that couldn’t have been foreseen. We grew up in a time where most of us have always been connected to the world through the internet. For the millennial generation, the internet has become part of us, almost like an extension of ourselves. While former generations spent their time communicating with the people around them, we communicate with people all over the country, and all over the world.
Anything we want to know, is at our fingertips, 24/7. This is the era of fact checking, where no politician can hide what they said or did in the past, where lies and corruption are visible for all to see.
This is a time where you do everything right, and you come out behind. We were told you need to go to college, so you can get a good job and support your family. Get a good job, so you can buy a house and one day send your kids to college. This was the American Dream, but we quickly learned this dream is dead…or rather meant for the wealthy. Those of us who did as we were supposed to, almost wish we hadn’t. We went to school, only to graduate and drown in student loan debt, and unable to get a job decent enough to pay back that debt, let alone contribute to the economy we were so anxious to be apart of. Now, we can’t buy houses, having a family adds to the struggle, and the dreams of sending our own kids to college drifts further and further away.
This is also a time where climate change is going to start affecting us and we see the dangers ahead, we understand the issues that future generations will have, yet we have the generations before us still arguing over whether anything should be done…and if it is even real. These are the generations that will not be affected, so it's understandable why they are not invested in it. It doesn’t matter, they’ll be gone.
Every generation has its struggles and every generation has its challenges. I am not denying that. What I am saying is, this doesn’t make our challenges and our struggles non-existent. And it doesn’t mean that our future is something we shouldn’t be concerned about.
Yes, we are frustrated and we are desperate. We see system and a government that is not working for us. We see a system that is failing and the feeling of hopelessness is all we have known. We see a changing environment with no promise of tomorrow and no one is willing to do a damn thing about it.
We are not a naïve, ignorant and entitled generation. We are angry and betrayed. But, we are a generation that, despite everything against us, is optimistic for the future and willing to try and make sure that we all get to the finish line. We don’t just understand our own struggles, but also the struggles of those less fortunate than us, both and home and abroad, and for a generation that doesn’t have much to look forward to, we are pushing towards a new future.