This is for my peers, who like me, are tired of hearing how awful our generation is.
Do you remember when we were kids and the important adults in our lives told us things like You can be anything you want to be, Dream big, You’re smart enough to change the world someday, or my favorite, The world would be a better place if more people had your heart. I know you heard something like that from someone in your life. So did I. All of those, in fact.
Well here we all are, adults, the age at which they said we would be living out those big dreams of ours and changing the world, but they don’t say those kind things anymore. No, now that we are trying to change the world as we were told, we’re just a stupid generation of spoiled and entitled brats. We’re weak minded, bleeding-heart liberals. Hmm… What happened?
They tell me we were left with nothing to fight for; we’re spoiled. Generations before us fought for everything we could ever need and they won, so we were handed life on a silver platter and that is what is wrong with us. I used to buy into this bullshit when I was young and inexperienced, but now I know better. (Apparently that’s where I went wrong and became a stupid, weak minded, bleeding-heart liberal. Oops!)
The part that boggles my mind is that some of the people who spew these insults about our generation are from the generations that fought against segregation and/or for women’s rights, people that we read about in our history books and looked up to. As radical as those ideas were at the time, I’m sure they were told the same, if not worse, but time showed us they were on the right side of history and I believe time will show we are too, because yes folks, we do have a fight.
Our generation has found its calling. Truthfully, we have found several, but they all fall under one category. We are the generation of tolerance and acceptance. This basically means that we believe in all the things other generations said they believed in, but many really only meant they believed it for themselves and people like them. Let me explain.
We believe in gender equality even when that means you get to choose your own gender, though I argue it is not a choice. It’s innate. It may be a foreign concept to you just as it is to me, but that is because we were born with the luxury of being who we feel we are, inside and out. I thank God that I don’t understand what it’s like to feel like a man in a woman’s body or a woman in a man’s body. Transgendered people go through life everyday feeling uncomfortable and unable to be themselves. That sounds like slow torture to me. I don’t need to know that feeling to know that it isn’t up to me to decide for others who they are. It’s not up to you, either.
We believe in marriage equality. This one is really simple, folks. I mean REALLY simple. The United States has a policy, separation of church and state. You’ve heard of this one. This means keep your church definition of marriage out of the state’s definition. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that LGBT people cannot get married. In fact, the law now says they can. Let it go! (Reminder, we’re the generation of tolerance and acceptance so we accept that you don’t like it as long as you tolerate it and just, I don’t know, look away?)
In fact, this is a good spot for a general notice. WE ARE NOT ASKING YOU TO LIKE EVERYTHING! We just ask that you tolerate it and admit that you not liking it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be allowed. I don’t like mustard, but I’m not asking the FDA to ban it!
We believe in actual racial equality. 151 years ago, the fight to end slavery succeeded. 62 years ago, the fight to end segregation succeeded. (Don’t ask me why it took so long. That’s just another on the long list of things I don’t understand.) Here we are half way through 2016 and through nearly 8 years of a black presidency, yet still dealing with racial inequalities. If you think otherwise, you live in a ridiculous bubble and you should find your way out before you suffocate. Before I get attacked by white people whose only argument is that we experience racism too, let me say that I do not believe in any way that only whites are racist, but I do believe we are the worst offenders in this country, and regardless, that’s not an excuse. Ever. Maybe, just maybe, if we hadn’t brought the concept with us when this country was founded, we wouldn’t experience the racial hatred we receive in return.
We believe in religious freedom. I thought all generations of this country believed in religious freedom as it was a driving factor in our inception as a nation, but apparently not. I mean, we still have antisemitism (hello, Mel Gibson!), many don’t even know that Wicca is a religion, and have you seen how Muslims in this country are treated? AMERICAN Muslims!? (Because yes, there are American Muslims. In fact, there are Muslims in all parts of the world, not just the middle east.) I don’t envy them, either, or the brown Hindus and Buddhists because you know, they’re brown and have an accent so they must be Muslim and that’s bad. Besides, we don’t even know what a Hindu or a Buddhist is, except one of them doesn’t eat hamburger. Right? Yeah, that’s it. #Sarcasm.
Allow me to remind you that white, Christian-born, American men have shot up schools, churches, and movie theaters right here on our own soil in recent years and there’s no massive movement calling for the heads of white Christian men for being terrorists. (Yes, those were acts of domestic terrorism. Don’t believe me? See for yourself. 18 U.S. Code § 2331 – Definitions.) Why do we not have a movement for their heads? Because we know with every fiber of our being that a few poor examples do not represent all of Christianity. Why can’t we recognize that for others?
Regardless of whatever religion you do or don’t believe, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the world was created as one. We are all God’s children or children of the world. Our borders are only man-made. Somehow those man-made borders give us the right to judge people on the other side just for being born there? I don’t think so.
We are the generation that believes your actions tell us what kind of person you are, not your gender, who you love, what color you are, or what God you do or don’t pray to and we are the generation that will fight to make sure you can be who you are, love who you love, and worship whoever you want to worship.
Are we perfect? Ha! NO! I’d say we’ve got a LONG way to go, especially when it comes to classism, but we are progress. Do I speak for all of us? Of course not! The fact remains that once upon a time, you told us we were going to change the world and now that we’re trying, you want us to stop. You’re angry with us for having different opinions, but guess what. That’s the democracy you raised us in, baby, and we’re not stopping!
I love this country, I really do. Do I think it’s the greatest country on Earth? I don’t know. I’ve never been to another one. Maybe. Either way, we’ve got a LOT of work to do and a lot of issues to deal with. I’m proud to be part of a generation willing to recognize those issues, admit our faults to the world, which by the way, is watching, and stand up for our beliefs. You should be proud. If we’re not a direct product of your loins, we’re certainly a product of the world you shaped that made us this way.
“Stupid, weak minded, bleeding-heart liberals?” Nah.
Strong, intelligent, compassionate human beings.
The soundtrack for this post: