Every few months there’s something else that millennials are destroying. First it was home ownership and cable TV, then our political system and religiosity, and now its casual restaurant chains and diamonds. It’s as if the entire millennial generation, the largest generation in the United States at more than 80 million people, holds regular meetings to decide the next industry or product to kill with a groundbreaking invention. It’s as if we hold no reverence for the “good ‘ole days”.
Except, have the older people who criticize the millennial generation in this way actually stopped to think about why we’re destroying all these aspects of American society? Millennials don’t set out with our shiny new diplomas, quickly changing careers, and mountains of student debt so that we can change our society and world for the fun of it. We kill industries and products and start new ones because so many parts of our society are broken and don’t work for us, let alone the rest of society. And often, it takes a new and fresh perspective to see just how broken parts of our world are right now.
Here’s a few examples for you:
For a generation where our first and only memories of government and politics are President Clinton being impeached, the Iraq War, the Great Recession, unresponsive policies after Sandy Hook, there are reasons for us being disgusted with our entire political system and showing apathy toward it.
Millennials are the most educated generation in history, and yet we graduate from college with enormous amounts of student debt. It’s no wonder we aren’t buying homes and that we push for quick and fair workplace advancement. We’re also the product of parents that told us we could do anything we wanted when we grew up. We’re ready now!
Our generation also grew up during the birth of the Religious Right and Christian evangelicals fighting vehemently against civil rights for so many people. For Jews, it’s our parents and grandparents freaking out about “continuity”, not so great Hebrew school classes, and our Jewish community refusing to acknowledge Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. And you want us to not be skeptical of religious affiliation?
There are plenty more examples (advances in technology, increased mobility, and, again, how our parents raised us), but let’s finish up here.
Millennials are changing the United States and the world in unthinkable ways that will have a deep impact for generations to come. It makes sense that older generations would be frustrated with all these changes because every great change comes with some form of resistance. But my biggest pet peeve are the older generations thinking that we’re doing this by accident or for the fun of it. These changes and innovations are happening because we want to make our mark on a world that is deficient in so many ways. We want to be heard by a world that stopped listening. And we want to make a difference because that’s what our parents, our teachers, our politicians, and our world has told us to do since we were born. We’re ready to keep on leading; I hope that all generations will join with us.