Monday, September 20, 1999

Week of 09/20/1999

"It’s Not Your Fault"
The Real Message To Generation Y

- by David Matthews 2

There is an old saying that goes something like this.. If you give someone a fish, they will have dinner tonight. But if you teach them to fish, they will be able to eat for a lifetime.

That saying comes to mind when I think about the message we as a society is giving to the next generation.

Moralists love to talk to us about messages and images and illusions. They love to say how one person’s actions reflect the entire society. And while I disagree with their rationality, certainly how our government and society acts sends an overall message to the next generation.

Growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s, the message that was presented to my generation - Generation X - was contradictory. The baby boomers gave one message in the 70’s, which was peace, love, and happiness. Then the same generation that thought nothing of free love and free drugs woke up in the 80’s and realized that they were suddenly parents. And that’s when the hypocrisy came in.. they realized that their kids could learn from their examples!

Just look at who we put in the White House - Bill Clinton has got to be the biggest example of hypocrisy in America, and yet he still gets on that public soapbox and preaches like a chaste minister and his generation still buys it.

Just like the message to the Baby Boomers in the 60’s was not to trust anyone over 30, the message to Generation X was simple - don’t trust the boomers! That’s why many people of my generation distrust government today according to a recent study conducted by Project Vote Smart.

So one has to wonder just what the message being sent to the next generation is. With government engaged in more flagrant abuses of power on all levels, being more and more litigious while flaunting sovereign immunity for their own actions, clearly the message is not one that should be expressed - namely that of freedom and opportunity. Even the message that the boomers WANT to express, namely responsibility, is sadly lacking by their actions.

So let’s get brutally honest here and envision what kind of message the next generation - Generation Y - is getting:

To The Young Adults Of Generation Y,

As you probably know, there have been a rash of incidents involving members of your generation. We are understandably concerned for your safety and well-being, which is why we have collectively decided to let you know something very important:

It’s not your fault.

Whatever it is, we know that it isn’t your fault. We just can’t hold you responsible for what you’ve done, what you are doing, or what you will do in the near future.

We know that you are the children of society, much as we were at your age. As such, we know that you are influenced by too many factors for you to know what you are doing. There is too much stimuli in your life. Too many evil influences that are too strong for you to resist. We know this because we were just like you at that age. So we know that you cannot be responsible for your actions. You just can’t, so don’t feel guilty about it.

But we still have to hold someone responsible for the evils of the world. After all, it is not your fault for what you do. Since you are the children of our society, we have no choice but to hold society responsible for your actions.

Whom else can we blame? It’s not your fault you are the way you are. And since we were like you once, we also cannot be at fault. Besides, we have far too many responsibilities of our own just being adults.

So in the days, weeks, and months to come, you will see us point fingers at evil corporations and faceless industries. We will blame them for the troubles of the world, and specifically how they are responsible for the actions you have made, are making, and will make. After all, we believe they are responsible for your actions.

We will harass, cajole, taunt, challenge, rebuke, condemn, these amoral industries. We will sue them endlessly using product liability laws. And when possible, we will force them by regulation and legislation to accept responsibility for your actions.

Yes, there will be suffering, but it is we who will make society suffer for your actions. After all, it is society that must cater to your whims and to you needs, just as they were to our whims and to our needs.

But we want you to know that we are only doing this because we love you. We have only your best interests at heart, and we know that in time you will grow up to become parents yourselves, and when you do, you will raise your children just as we raised you. Only then will you understand why we have done what we have done.

With love and hope for the future,

The Clinton Administration
The Democratic Party
The Republican Party
Members of the United States Congress
The Media
Your teachers and school administrators
Your religious leaders
The American trial lawyers

and last but not least, your parents.

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