To everyone who is going to get hysterical about this new poll that claims 40% of millennials support government abridging offensive speech to minorities, I share in your outrage. If this poll is remotely accurate, I’m ashamed that so many from my generation can consciously want to curtail any form of speech, when those same freedoms were so instrumental to progress in the Civil Rights struggle, women’s suffrage, LGBT rights and every other battle we’ve had to wage and continue to wage towards creating an equal and fair society. Recent social victories are pushing the pendulum in the right direction, but I sincerely hope we don’t give in to the temptation of punishing the other side by becoming the very monster we just destroyed. Our ideals, egalitarianism and social justice, are morally good. Let them stand to all scrutiny, no matter how ugly.
But why aren’t Baby Boomers held accountable for all the ACTUAL harm they’ve done? We’ll hear a lot about “thought policing,” from the right, who wants to marginalize millennials as we gravitate more towards progressive politics. Where is the same moral outrage for practiced policing policies, conceived and implemented by Boomers, which created a devastating, racist drug war that incarcerated millions and severely crippled black progress.
Where is the moral outrage about gun violence when it affects anything but white, suburban communities? We’ve fostered a culture of mistrust between races and ethnicities where, for some reason, white people can’t empathize with blacks who are needlessly murdered by overzealous, poorly trained cops. The Boomers, who witnessed firsthand the importance of questioning oppressive authority throughout the 60s and 70s, were somehow perfectly willing to roll over and cede power for tenuous security. All because they were easily duped into believing boogeymen want to kill them and take their stuff.
Where is the moral outrage about the changing climate, which we’ve continued to allow to deteriorate long after we wised to our own role. Sold away by the Boomers and Generation X-cess, so they could prolong their own petty luxuries a little longer. Millennials will be the ones who contend with the inevitable negative consequences (including food and water shortages that will disproportionately affect minorities and poor) long after the last Boomer is gone.
Where is the moral outrage about Boomers leveraging Millennials future, with cuts to education, healthcare and benefits spending in order to save the super wealthy more money. Money they don’t need that they don’t invest, so they can continue to not create jobs with fair wages. Without quality, free education through the collegiate level, minorities and the poor will not be able to compete with more privileged. Without universal healthcare, the financial hole grows deeper for those on the cusp. Without liveable wages for full time employees, people are forced to take second jobs that further degrade the stability that might allow the cycle of institutional subjugation to end.
The current social state of college campuses is harsh and reactionary and misguided. Campuses need be totally free and open centers for debate. There are no “safe spaces” in the real world, and millennials needs to grow up (quickly) and cut their shit. But make no mistake, this strife was perpetuated by spineless Baby Boomers, the “Me Generation,” who embraced a culture that benefitted themselves slightly without regard for the massive ripple effect on the poor and disenfranchised. You can’t start a fire on a wooden floor to keep warm, then get angry when the whole house burns down.
Don’t allow these fading old people to call our generation a mess without saying something about it. They’re the past, we’re the future and we need to be better than they were. We don’t have a choice, they made sure of that.