Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Voices for a New War

Katherine Pryor's essay, posted at CommonDreams, again browbeats young people for presumed apathy in the face of the national and international crises confronting us.

My response, posted at the essay and here:

Check out the generational theories of Neil Howe and William Strauss - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss_and_Howe

In particular, it’s important that young people - Generation X and Millenials - be aware that we are NOT the same as our Boomer parents and elder siblings. Within the Strauss/Howe analysis, we have a very different role to play - Gen Xers, as “Nomads, are ratty, tough, unwanted, diverse, adventurous, and cynical about institutions. They grow up as the underprotected children of an Awakening, come of age as the alienated young adults of an Unraveling, become the pragmatic, midlife leaders of a Crisis and age into tough, post-crisis elders during a High…”

As a Gen Xer, active in social justice, I expect to spend my time working very hard but in the shadows of public life, preparing the ground for the Millenial “Heroes: conventional, powerful, and institutionally driven, with a profound trust in authority. They grow up as the increasingly protected children of an Unraveling, come of age as the Heroic, team-working youth of a Crisis, become energetic and hubristic mid-lifers during a High and become the powerful elders who are attacked in the next Awakening. The G.I. Generation that fought World War II is an example of a Hero generation.”

I don’t know how well the Boomers are doing at their “wise elder” stage, but Kucinich might be an example of that. Anyway, don’t knock us young people too hard. We can’t relive the past; similar as the current times may be to the Vietnam era, there are many, many significant differences.


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