February 28, 2018

PINERO | Dear Boomers, Love Gen Z

Print More

Boomers, this is your reckoning.

I hold you all personally responsible for the handbasket that’s currently dragging us into the bowels of hell.  If I hear someone over 35 whine about “kids these days” one more time, I swear to God, I’ll go ballistic.

Those born after ’95 are the first native-born inhabitants of a bona fide brave new world. Authors of dystopian fiction have rolled over in their graves as they watched their warnings go unheeded.

You cheered for Reagan’s tax cuts obliterating the American middle class! You cheered for Clinton’s race-baiting welfare reform and mass incarceration! Now, you blame the opioid crisis on Mexicans or Big Pharma instead of the inevitable existential crisis the unemployed laborer faces under capitalism!

You fell for identity politics that allowed both parties to abandon the public interest and all but codify the oligarchy. Between Boomer Republicans and Boomer Democrats, I can’t tell who’s Dumb and who’s Dumber. Just… staggering buffoonery.

I don’t know if it was because in the pre-Google era people just wandered about politicking with impunity. I don’t know if it was the 20th century ‘serious politician’ aesthetic that earned your trust. But you, for some godforsaken reason, took these politicians at their word!

Those sacks of snakes in suits with furrowed brows and strong chins: so presidential! You swooned. With your blessing, those slimy scoundrels slithered into the halls of power. Their highway robbery heralded our precipitous descent into blatant plutocracy. While they worked you up into a lather about guns and Jesus or equality and opportunity, they mowed down whatever stood between them and their God-given right to get filthy rich on your backs.

In 2016, you snapped out of it. The rich were richer. The left tossed liberals the palliative corporatist candidacy of a worn-down, beat-up HRC. The right stoked conservatives’ nationalist fever. Long story short, we’re all riding the Trump train. Choo choo.

You might be happy with Trump. It feels good to blow everything up! I appreciate Trump supporters’ spirit of self-determination and earnest, albeit misdirected and half-baked, recognition that the system is rigged.

But don’t you feel guilty at all? A generation of kids’ only vision of national leadership is a vile, unstable, corrupt, misogynistic, racist, narcissistic sociopath. Their only concept of government is corruption, nepotism and unrelenting greed.

Further, how long can this sundowning septuagenarian last before his tweeting incites the race war? Or the nuclear holocaust? How do you live with yourselves knowing these kids will never feel safe?

You might despise Trump. You probably find his behavior shocking; it’s coarse, it’s inappropriate, it’s unbecoming. What ruffles your feathers, however, isn’t the corruption, the nepotism, the greed or even the treason. It’s the refusal to play along with the charade of civility that riles you up.

“But I’m one of the good ones! I’m a Democrat!” Shut up, Susan. You never batted an eyelash at the activities of your unapologetic big business puppet presidents, but wet your pants every time Trump says something weird. You’re unhappy with the state of affairs, but for all the wrong reasons. Lest we attribute our distaste to the offenses against our sensibilities rather than those against our freedoms.

Boomers of both parties, as a result of their steadfast dedication to centrism and Pavlovian reaction to the phrase “American Dream,” unwittingly flushed any semblance of democracy down the toilet.

Every generation gets to drive a short leg on the road of history. Baby Boomers have been behind the wheel their whole lives. Your tenure was a non-stop cycle of fender benders from which you never learned a thing. Finally, realizing your journey was nearing its end, you said, “You know what? Fuck it!” and drove us all off a cliff.

Your political participation (or lack thereof) over the last half century has been abysmal. Now that you’re no longer in charge, allow me to introduce you to the generation that will clean up your mess.

We are unabashedly juvenile, irreverently nihilistic and bullshit-intolerant. We are uniquely qualified to take the dumpster fire of a future you left us with and pave a better path from its ashes.

Unabashed juvenilism allowed the students of Stoneman Douglas High School to expose manipulative, powerful adults. Social media is our home turf; any kid on Twitter can turn a serious power broker into the village idiot. Lucky for us, ours is the battleground for the foreseeable future.

Irreverent nihilism is the philosophy we adopted to cope with our world, rife with terrorism, school massacres, economic instability, police brutality, impotent adult leadership, and our impending extinction by climate change. We’re not irrationally attached to the social order; we’re over it.

On BS: We’re upending the entire fields of market research and political consulting. Manufactured messaging is transparent to us. We demand evidence, not rhetoric. We don’t suffer fools. The vast majority of us won’t be swindled like you were; nobody’s gonna work us up so bad about the coloreds that we beg them to take all our money.

Thanks for all you’ve taught us, but the kids will be alright.

Love, Generation Z

To those Boomers who never lost their revolutionary spirit: this letter is not addressed to you.

To the supporters of the Black Power, Women’s, Anti-War, Environmental, Native American, and LGBT movements, artists, good politicians, good media, protestors, Muhammad Ali, Dolly Parton, Cher, etc.: we thank you for the world you’ve made for us.

To the lovely Boomers who are radical in kindness & open-mindedness: thank you for going against the grain!

We will follow the example you’ve set for us as we forge our own way.

Jade Pinero is a junior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be reached at jpinero@cornellsun.com. Jaded and Confused runs biweekly on Thursdays.