Guest columnist defends generations Y and Z

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-2-19-43-pmMany of us who pay attention to the wide world of social media are familiar with the divisiveness that has surrounded the group of people born in the last quarter of the 2oth century. Though some members of this mass group are now entering middle age while others (such as myself) are entering college, this generation is defined by technological usage and high expectations of success.

We are seen all too commonly as whiny freeloaders, a trend which I find concerning.  We are, it seems, the first generation to have an entitled attitude, but what is entitlement?  Is it a dirty word?  It is a distinctly American value that we must suffer (for lack of a better word) for an experience to be worthwhile. And in years past, we have done so more or less quietly.

Our generation, it seems, is defined by a willingness to redefine existence, which I find amazing.  Our traditional conceptions of gender roles, the family unit, the purpose of religion and work ethic are all being redefined.  We are focusing now more on enlightenment than we have before, as higher education leads to advancements in medicine, technology and art.  And while there is some resistance, it is evident that, to quote Nobel Winner Bob Dylan: “The times, they are a-changing.”

I defend my generation not happily, but wearily (as I’m not sure this defense will count for anything,) with the knowledge, and pride that we are a generation that at the very least asserts itself and says: “I am human.  You cannot treat me as anything less.”

And though our voices are different, they are still powerful, standing up for rights which in the past have been taboo, and are now seen (after far too long) as human decency.  We stand to defend rights to abortion, to health care, to marriage.

Are we the greatest generation? Certainly not. We are, if anything, a new lost generation, still searching to find itself in a world that continually proves itself to be dispassionate and indifferent.  And with every bad member of our generation, there are redeeming characteristics.  This has been the case through generations that have come before us.  Only the platforms for social expression have changed.  And what was once upon a time a quiet resentment from parents to their more liberated children, now, in the face of social media, becomes a firestorm.

Yes, the times are a-changing.  In some ways for worse.  In some ways for the better.  And as with any other generation, we’ll never be able to see what we’ve truly sewn until a new generation comes to reap it