Dear Millennials,

As you may or may not be aware, I am a Gen X-er.  That means I was called a slacker by the Baby Boomers.  And now, they are turning their attacks on you.

They attack your slang, never mind that they are the ones where everything was far out, or groovy.  They attack your music, just like they did to mine.  Granted, I like a lot of the music from that generation more than I like yours, but I wonder how they felt when their parents attacked their music?  They attack your attention spans (which aren’t as low as they think, because you are able to multi-task) at the same time they demand more and more multi-tasking at the companies they run in order to keep low numbers of workers on the payroll.   They claim you are stupid, but fail to realize you are learning things in eighth grade they didn’t have to learn in university.

You are arguably the most informed, compassionate, connected generation.  The world is counting on you.

Now, I am not saying the Boomers have done nothing good.  We all know they fought to allow a lot of the things we all do to happen.

But that’s just it.  They fought.  Past tense.  And when their leaders were killed, things got too hard, or they just got a taste of power…they quit.

They fought for civil rights, yet then decided to incarcerate minorities in unprecedented numbers using a drug war unfairly targeted at minorities (acknowledging they didn’t start that trend, just embraced it).  They pushed for mandatory minimums that allowed people with drugs to go to prison longer than convicted rapists.  They targeted their drug raids in minority neighborhoods, despite knowing that drug use and sales passed racial and economic barriers.  They participated in an organized assault on minorities, and have not let up.

They fought for women’s equality, yet shamed young women for thinking about policy instead of symbolism.  They attacked you for not revering their chosen masters to the point of seeing them as infallible.  They have always been about the leaders.  About the symbols.  It is what has led so many to falsely declare racism is over because we have a black President.

The Boomer generation is the generation of quitters.  They were seen as even more idealistic than you are.  But they gave up.  Time and time again, they gave up, and became the very thing they fought against.  That’s all they know how to do.

Well, that and attack other generations.  In the 60’s, they attacked their parent’s generation.  In the 90’s they attacked mine (despite the fact they raised us), and now they are coming down on you.

Of course, this isn’t every single person in my parent’s generation.  This is not every Boomer.  Some of them still try.  Some of them genuinely want a more just society.  In fact, I think these non generation generation markers are absurd.  But since so many take pride in their generation, and rip into yours, I think maybe a little reflection back on them is a good thing.  If you want to criticize entire generations, I think you have a case to be made that they might be the worst.

They have maintained or increased pollution, they have increased income inequality, they have allowed racism to persist in an institutional way, and are now part of the overt racism we see coming hard back into view.

They squandered the greatest economy ever seen in this nation and handed you a mess to try to clean up.  They have made George Bush leaving the Great Recession (depression) to Barack Obama look like nothing more than handing someone a torn paper and glue.  You have inherited a dirty world, a mass extinction, an oligarchy, a terrible economy, and loads and loads of debt.  You have been given unresolved strife among people.  Strife they fought hard against before joining the rank and file.  And now they claim that you are soft?  Now they come after you?  Your generation with more promise than any generation before?  Your generation that really hasn’t yet had the chance to fix things?  How dare you question them!

So, my dear millennial(s), I have a favor to ask you.

Get pissed.  Fight back.  Make your vision a reality, and unlike the Boomers, do not quit.  Embrace your allies, and take the world you are going to have to run soon anyway.  Send the Boomers into retirement, and work to make the world you want a reality.  Prove that not every movement needs a leader.  Become your own leader.  Prove that you are not interested in heroes and symbols.  Be your own hero.  You have what it takes.  Your generation is more intelligent, informed, and compassionate than they could ever hope to be.  Prove the Boomers wrong and show you do have the work ethic to get it done.

Maybe just think about listening to better music.  🙂

Sincerely,

An Old Fogy Gen X-er.

 

Maybe you didn’t start the fire Boomers, but you sure as hell added fuel.

Featured Image by Dan Bennett from Seattle, USA (DSC_2046  Uploaded by X-Weinzar) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

42 thoughts on “Dear Millennials,”

  1. Passion and dedication are not dirty words. Git yer hackles raised, youngsters! Fight for the stuff that truly matters, because I’m going to keep doing the same, right beside you.
    Signed: Another disrespectful, lazy, entitled Gen-Xer (except I dislike labels and typecasting)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a return fire exercise against the generation who holds power for criticizing a generation that has not had the chance to screw things up as bad as they have yet. Anger can be a great motivator. Pointing out hypocrisy can help galvanize the victims of said hypocrisy. But mostly, it’s a lighthearted slam against those who really believe in generational superiority in the first place, (as these generational lines are not true generations, and each encompasses different values) and who can’t accept culture changes. In other words, “You dish it out? Be prepared to take it.”

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      1. I came across your blog, Josh, having searched posts tagged with the word “compassion.” It appears one can mislead with tags. Still, I find your expressed perspective disappointing as there are truly so many who do not play the generational superiority card that you reference. You obviously feel otherwise and are entitled to share your opinion.

        In my experience I have almost always found that (and chosen) to listen, ask quesrtions about, accommodate and appreciate the spectrum of views and contributions of our collective society rather than accord specific positive or negatives to unique cohorts. Because in the aggregate of our skills and talents, we have all made the U.S. what it is. This is indisputable.

        Stay angry if you believe that will yield your desired outcomes. Foment rarely produces constructive results.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, it was tagged compassion because of the compassion being shown by the Millennials. I, am not a millennial. I am an angry person who sees a very bright and compassionate generation with a lot of promise being attacked and potentially beating that promise out of them. Anger often leads to constructive outcomes. Do you think the civil rights marchers weren’t angry? How about people for marriage equality? What about the soldiers of the American Revolution? It is simple, if you read the post. I am not attacking the Boomers. I am attacking the MANY Boomers who attack other generations and holding up a mirror to their claims of generational superiority. I am asking the Millennials to use those attacks as motivation to press on, and not give up the compassionate views they hold. I see some conservative logic coming from you, where it is not okay for someone to call someone else out for their shitty behavior. That pointing out someone who is being an asshole somehow makes you one too. A response is a response. Say whatever the hell you want, but expect someone else to fight back.

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      3. Josh, could you please point me to scientific, objective and validated research/findings that support your perspective that”…the MANY Boomers who attack other generations…”? I might be more inclined to empathize were the points fact versus conjecture.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah, right. Because there are studies on this. (sarcasm) Just check a Facebook feed, or ask Millennials. Or watch the news. Watch Hillary Clinton supporters pounding the younger voters because they can’t win them over on Twitter, and at events. Cite something we both know has never actually been studied? Weak. Do you want me to cite studies that the sky appears blue from Earth too, or do you just want to open your eyes?

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      5. One or two articles, Josh, does not constitute significant research. And as many of us know, for every article with an opinion, there are countless that offer counterpoints.

        What I do know from 10+ years of working with Boomers and researchers is that a majority of them would rather continue their time, energy and focus on creating outcomes that yield benefit to all. They are not a selfish generation by any means.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I’m not going to do all your research for you. Google it. Those are two among hundreds. The perception exists for a reason.
        The whole issue is in your response “Boomers are not a selfish generation by any means.”
        The only point in that we agree on, is that they can’t be, because they aren’t a true generation and of course do not all share the same values.
        However,
        The ones who continue to believe that they are a generation, who continue to deny selfishness within that group of births, and continue to level attacks against a generation with virtually no power at a time during which they hold the majority of major power in a world that has made decisions during their reign that may make it impossible for Millennials to even have a chance to fix things, and to deny their own failings or perpetuate a myth of inferiority of the newest generation, is exactly what I am talking about.
        Not selfish by any means? Please. How hot was this year? Or do you deny climate change too? How many species are dying off? How about our crumbling infrastructure? But I’ve got mine, right?
        To say that there are no selfish elements there are complete fallacy.

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  2. Hmmm.
    Well, personally, I think that each generation both fell and rose to the occasion.
    Still, whilst I shouldn’t, I don’t look to well on mine.

    Also, despite the above, supposedly the baby boomers have assisted significantly in making Sydney difficult to live in.

    Supposedly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Millennials seem to get the brunt of criticism from boomers. Even more than they gave to my generation. Boomers run the world right now, and aren’t leaving the millennials a chance. This is merely pointing out a hypocrisy of a holier than thou generation. Also kind of a rant against generation separations in the first place, given they aren’t actual generations and encompass different values.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wonder what generation i am slotted in? I haven’t paid much attention to that sort of thing. It does come up every now and then. From where I sit I was thinking THIS is the generation of immigrants. (and not the good kind either)
    I have a couple of Thailand friends I would love to have them live here in America. (these are the good kind)!

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  4. Be careful what you wish for Josh. What goes around, comes around. Every generation complains about the next because people fear what they don’t know. As a boomer, I can tell you that I am just tired of fighting but I haven’t necessarily given up. I have gone backward when it comes to music thanks to my music-loving husband. I found that the songs I bitched about, I really like. I am enjoying life! I am fighting to rid myself of my baby boomer negativity and worrying. I am turning it over to your generation to do better as each generation does. As the world has evolved, we baby boomers have gotten the glitz and glamour in our eyes wanting more than we and our parents grew up with. Advances in technology, products and marketing have us by the balls (so to speak). Where will it all end? I don’t know but I am tired of worrying and fighting. It’s your turn. Many heart-breaking events have taken place in my lifetime that there were no preventative measures for them but because of that, we have made strides forward. Do you think that those problems just appeared in my generation? No, they were around for hundreds of years. You know my history and how it has done damage but because of strides forward in society, fewer kids are going without protection and more perpetrators are being taken off the streets. Discrimination of some sort will always be with us but we are making forward strides. I have always say that discrimination against African Americans will not die until my generation dies but it isn’t true because my generation has passed it down to their children just like my parents generation and their parent’s generation. I am lucky, it skipped a generation. My grandfather tried to hand it down to me but I resisted. Do you realize how long it has taken to get his far? It takes a very long time to undo damage done. My generation still has its finger on the pulse, not all of us maybe but there are those who still have the drive and determination. What you don’t see are the people who work behind the scenes. I worked for two years at Crisis Hotline helping those who don’t know how to help themselves. Every day, we bloggers read our blogging friend’s posts that reach out to others with compassion. I am not faulting you, you have good points. I am just asking you to consider that the people you are complaining about got you to where you are, good as well as bad. I value your opinion, thank God we have the right to express them.😍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The thing about this, is if you really look at what I wrote, you’ll see I agree. You simply can’t classify an entire generation especially when they aren’t even true generations like family generation would be. You can’t say that an entire group of people share the same values based on when they were born. What this whole post was is saying, is if you are going to criticize Millennials (which seems to be a big thing for boomers to do) you need to be prepared for being judged under the same generalizations.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am a boomer. I figure it is not my world . It belongs to the young. I did my public service (32 years teaching) and now the next generation has to do their part. The ONLY thing that bothers me about the younger folks (anyone under 40!) is the low voter participation. Voting is the only power you have. I think so many younger folks have fallen for the Reagan-Bush mantra that “government is bad” that they have not done a good job of learning how much good government has done in the past. Too many have bought into the lie. Just think if EVERY YOUNG person voted what a difference it would make!

    I don’t really do anything much except vote, help make some calls on election night to get out the vote and write my once in awhile blog (Plug for my blog goes here: https://josephurban.wordpress.com/
    It is now up to the young.

    Liked by 1 person

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