As we geezers are coming to find out, there is a new force in politics, the people who are trying to shape the future that they will live in after we are ‘gone.’
Generation Y (sometimes referred to as “the Millennials” or “Echo Boomers”) refers to a specific cohort of individuals born, roughly, between 1980-94.
Generation Y are primarily children of the Baby boomers and Generation Jones (US only), though some are children of older Gen X adults…..
A central characteristic of what defines Generation Y is that they have no memory of the Cold War….
If the years 1981-2000 are used, as is common in market research, then the size of Millennials in the United States is approximately 76 million.
Who are these people? What do they want? And why don’t they realize that fighting the ideological battles of the past is more important than creating the future???
Warning: Gross simplifications to follow!
If you don’t remember the Cold War, you don’t have a true grounding in the ideological battles of today. The Left were Communists and The Right were Real Americans. “My country right or wrong” Americans. (Of course this ideological brouhaha all goes back much further as well, but that doesn’t matter, because I wasn’t born yet!) The Old Left have been portrayed as “outsiders” since the days of McCarthyism. That is when being a “lefty” could get you in real trouble, and that is when the Left started pretending they weren’t really the Left. That is when the Right started to intimidate and bully the left into the continual defensive position they are in now. The incredibly real existential threat of 10,000 Soviet and Chinese Communist warheads pointed at us, punctuated by the Cuban Missile crisis, was all the leverage the Right needed to cast aspersions on the Left of being not just unpatriotic, but of actually collaborating with the “Godless Commies” who were trying to nuke us into oblivion. The Right were the Real Americans, the Left were suspect, and thus forced to defend.
This had nothing to do with the hippies, per se, btw. This was before Vietnam. The ‘chaos’ of the Vietnam protests …and the Civil Rights protest that burned down cities after MLK was gunned down by an ideological rightist… merely drove the wedge deeper.
And here we are, where the politicians of The Left are trapped by that same old meme of anti-patriotism and being “soft on defense” to the point of not being “able” (in their mind) of challenging effectively, let alone impeaching, the culmination of that “Real American” mindset, the criminal conspiracy of the Bush Administration.
Do the Millennials know about all of this? Do they know what perfidious sons of bitches they are up against? Yes they do. Maybe not the history, but since they can see fr themselves that culmination, they are NOT the naifs it is tempting to paint them as. If you’re old.
They know well enough what they are facing today. And they are choosing a new way of fighting the battle, of defeating the meme. Much to the chagrin of the Old Left, they are building a New Left. A more centrist, less ideological Left. A Left that can not only win elections but that, they hope, can win the hearts and minds of America and end the Culture Wars that way. “They” have a luxury “we” never did…the Right has effectively destroyed itself by gaining full power and revealing what the bankrupt philosophy it is built on does when it is given free rein.
At this juncture there are two choices for the Left. To try to destroy the Right finally and completely by, for example, impeaching Bushco. Or to, in effect, ignore it as it flops around like the dead fish that it is. While they build a new future that is NOT based on ideological differences…that they have no real attachment to. To win by governing well. While giving The Vast Middle no real reason to object or reject them. To show that The New Left….works.
Will it work?
It looks like we are about to find out. It may frustrate the hell out of us Old Leftists. Especially when we DO finally have a chance to pounce upon and destroy The Right. The danger is that “they” might become too centrist.
Perhaps they need some good Old Lefties to help keep them from falling into that trap? If so…it will be up to US to find out how we can help them. Right or wrong, with the state of the world, politics, and the destruction wreaked by the Culture Wars, I can certainly see why from their perspective they won’t be knocking down OUR door for advice. How can we help them build a new world?