Gallery of art and thoughts

The cartoons and contemplations of a twentysomething copy editor.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Talkin' 'bout my generation...

As I'm sure countless other pundits have noted, we are halfway through the 2000s. How faraway the Y2K panic seems. There we were, glutted with dreams of dot-com fortunes, a young generation much like that of the 1920s, when the cataclysmic shock of Sept. 11, 2001, changed our perception of our world.

How will today's young people (and by "young" I mean "haven't gone to college yet") enter adulthood? What kind of people will they become? My generation, the tail end of Gen-X or the advent of Generation Y, was raised in a largely liberal incubator. Nurtured (probably not the right word) on a diet of political correctness, we grew up in a tolerant climate, taught that diversity is vital to democracy (a belief with which I agree). I think that today's youth will continue in that trend, despite any questions raised by the Gratz and Grutter lawsuits.

However, I believe that young people are developing a steelier worldview, one sharpened by 9-11. They will probably be more likely to turn to faith to help them deal with their fears. Whereas independence was key to my generation -- studying abroad, moving out early, marrying late -- I foresee that today's teenagers will be more group-centric, and their tolerance will not come without demands: i.e., you can join our team, but you have to play by our rules.

Having some faith is good. Maybe the tripe on TV, in movies, and in pop culture in general has left us bereft of a sense of standards. Perhaps my generation was too smart and sassy for its own good. Yet a lurch to the right would worry me. The Left needs to figure out a way to make itself more attractive to younger people and provide a viable alternative to the Right.


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