This piece by Thomas Day in the Washington Post about how the Penn State child sex cover-up is the final straw for one Millenial in terms of his loss of faith in his parents’ generation. It’s incredibly damning, going beyond the failure to protect children to the failure to grow the economy, build our infrastructure, and create promise and hope for the Millenial generation.
Think of the world our parents’ generation inherited. They inherited a country of boundless economic prosperity and the highest admiration overseas, produced by the hands of their mothers and fathers. They were safe. For most, they were endowed opportunities to succeed, to prosper, and build on their parents’ work.
For those of us in our 20s and early 30s, this is not the world we are inheriting.
We looked to Washington to lead us after September 11th. I remember telling my college roommates, in a spate of emotion, that I was thinking of enlisting in the military in the days after the attacks. I expected legions of us — at the orders of our leader — to do the same. But nobody asked us. Instead we were told to go shopping.
The times following September 11th called for leadership, not reckless, gluttonous tax cuts. But our leaders then, as now, seemed more concerned with flattery. Then -House Majority Leader and now-convicted felon Tom Delay told us, “nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes.” Not exactly Churchillian stuff.
Those of us who did enlist were ordered into Iraq on the promise of being “greeted as liberators,” in the words of our then-vice president. Several thousand of us are dead from that false promise.
The indictment goes on, but the point is clear. Now is the time for Millenial leadership. In fact, I think we’re seeing an attempt of that through the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is seeking to throw out the power structures created by elites, for elites alone.
The world that emerges as my generation takes the reins could be radically different from the one created by our parents’ generation. It has to be, for as Day notes, the great things built by our grandparents have been neglected or deliberately torn down. If we are to ever have the strength, the hope, and the possibilities of generations past, we have to change course and it’s going to have to be the Millenial generation which stewards this change.