LGBT Millennials are not their parents’ generationEditorial, Top Highlights Thursday, July 5th, 2012
They’re still young and they’re still not “entitled,” as so many of their parents’ generation are wont to declare them. They are the Millennials; they are Echo Boomers; they are Generation Y.
If entitlement means a feeling that whatever I want, I have the right to take – regardless of whom the taking is from, we should ask ourselves who really acts as if they are entitled.
Or, as New York Times columnist Timothy Egan puts it, “If anyone should be complaining about deficits, it should be the 20-somethings who will have to pay for all those meds-popping boomers moving into the comfort of Medicare and Social Security.”
As a member of a demographically insignificant generation (Generation X is one third the size of Gen. Y and one fourth the size of the Baby Boom generation), I’ve watched Millenials (most of whom are children of the Boomers) all around me demonstrate maturity beyond anything my peers and I were capable of at their ages. I find them to be humbler, quieter and more responsible than my own generation in the face of a far more challenging world than we inherited. Meanwhile, their societal inheritance is being stolen even as you read this.
Nothing better exemplifies the means by which Boomers have “borrowed” from their own children than their collective abhorrence for paying their taxes. Today, with taxes literally – actually, as a matter of fact – at historic lows, the generation with its hands gripped tightly on the reins of power jumps on nearly every opportunity to recoil in horror from what their parents believed was a patriotic duty. It was their duty to pay their taxes and thereby pay their way and their children’s way as they used resources and spent money on things such as education, transportation and defense.
No doubt, the majority of those who say “we can’t afford to provide everyone with a college education” were themselves recipients of degrees from public universities whose tuitions and fees were unimaginably low by today’s standards – thanks to taxes paid by their parents.
Today, college students are bled dry with high-interest student loans. Yes, six percent is high – higher by more than two-fold than the rates of student loans a generation ago. That’s in spite of the fact that prime interest rates were at all-time highs in the early 1980s. Today, banks either pay nothing for the money they borrow – or, in a few anecdotal cases, are even paid to borrow money from the Fed. Yet, it was only last week when Congress came dangerously close to doubling the cost of those already more-expensive-than-ever student loans.
But money is not the only currency with which Boomers have their children pay their debts.
“If anyone should be upset over two long wars that were put on the credit card, it should be the generation shedding the most blood in those conflicts,” says the Times’ Egan.
But do they complain, these Millennials? I don’t hear much youthful whining these days – at least not at a level commensurate with the economic, educational, and geo-political situation the younger set has inherited. What about the Occupy Movement? Well that’s hardly a complaint. It is just that: a movement. And it’s a movement that has forever made the way American’s think about Wall Street more realistic and less perilously exalted.
Locally, Occupy has at its very core a fiercely dedicated group of LGBTs, such as those also associated with Canvass for a Cause. LGBT Millennials will indeed save the world with their inclinations toward action, their rejection of entitlement, and their powers of tolerance and acceptance – but only if they can also reject the one characteristic they share with their parents’ generation.
That characteristic is a tendency to do everything as a group. Think about the mass trends of the “Me Generation” and how much those trends have impacted society. Remember the term “group think?” It was coined during the last decade when everyone was looking for someone or something upon whom or which to blame the mistaken decision to go to war in Iraq. “We thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction because of group think,” was the analysis that came from the Bush White House’s own people.
As long as they stay away from group think, I think the kids will be alright.
San Diego LGBT Weekly
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