Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Short End of the Stick

What is a "Post-Millennial" perspective?

The turn of the previous millennium is fifteen years distant. Today, there is an entire generation of young people who have no memories of the world before the year 2000. We are in college or dreaming of being able to attend. We are checking you out at the grocery store and putting your happy meal together. And some of us live with our lives at risk, patrolled by a racist police force or schooled by a transphobic education system.

Our generation was too young to vote for Barack Obama in 2008. We've never known Hope nor the promise of Change. Our earliest memory is the 9/11 attacks. We lived our childhoods under the threat of another terrorist attack, and were policed accordingly. Metal detectors and drug dog searches were a normal part of our public school education. We were brought to an early adulthood by the shock of the Great Recession, and since have only known the pain of austerity and the rhetoric of sacrifice.

As the 2016 election season whirs into gear, we're split between a sliver of hope offered by the insurgent campaigns of Sanders and Trump, who, if nothing else, offer "something new," and the pervasive cynicism of our elders. Can things change? Our experiences say yes, but only for the worse.

Certainly our future looks bleak. Ahead of us lie decades of meaningless work, if we're lucky, and a brutish life of subsistence if our service-sector jobs are automated away. A climate catastrophe is brewing, a crisis our generation is expected to solve by lowering our living standards, all while paying the social security of our profligate elders. We've been left with the short end of the stick.