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Jeremy White Headshot

Generational Warfare

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Turn on any news channel these days and you will hear that we as a country are currently experiencing class warfare. The rich get richer while the poor remain the same. To the mainstream media I say: since when is this news? This has always been the case going back to the pharaohs. The reason the "American Dream" is called such is because this country has traditionally given people the opportunity to rise above their situation and achieve great success either through skill or dumb luck. Or at least it used to be. The true problem we are experiencing today is not a case of the pleebs versus the aristocracy but is in fact a form of generational warfare.

Let's look at the facts. The baby boomers were the adults in the time of the dot com boom when anyone with an idea and a website could make millions. Even after the bubble burst, this generation continued to spend, but instead of using dividends, they used readily available credit. This did not just apply to homes people could not afford. Representatives of the US government decided that, rather than act like responsible adults, that they would go to war on credit and run up the largest government debts ever even imagined. Why worry about it, right?

The next generation will pay for it with their sweat and tears. I am reminded right now of a Jack Donaghy quote, "The middle class is dead. You will be renting forever." What was missing from that statement was the why. Why will we be renting forever? Because we have to pay for the mistakes of the last generation before we can start to worry about our own futures. Case in point: walk through any Occupy Wall Street encampment in the world and check out the demographics. The people most pissed off are not the factory workers who lost their jobs of 20 years, it's the youth who have never even been given a chance to try and fail. Where is our jobs bill?

I am not here to lay blame for the "Great Recession," only to shed light on the true victims of its long term effects. I am not quite sure what we are called -- Gen X'ers, MTV generation -- none of the aforementioned titles really bring light to what those of us in our 20s truly are: the forgotten generation. As a result of economic conditions over which we had no control our generation is currently experiencing a version of delayed adulthood. Just like our parents we were told that a college degree was the key to professional success. However, today new graduates are politely told to take off their cap and gown and to slow their roll towards success. Apparently we haven't quite earned it yet. Turns out that the previous generation is not quite done with the world we were just told we were about to inherit. We are instead encouraged to take unpaid internship after unpaid internship in the hopes that these indentured servitudes might lead to an actual pay check. My question to you is very simple: when exactly is it our turn? If we are not given opportunities early on how exactly are we expected to eventually run the show one day? I am sorry Generation Forgotten: I have no answers. The best advice I can give is cliched but appropriate in its roots in propaganda: keep calm and carry on.