While growing up, the Millennials led a busy, structured life in the 90s and this first decade of a new century. Their parents were devoted to them and the feeling was returned. They were told they were smart and to be inclusive and tolerant of all races, religions and sexual orientations. They were accustomed to being team players and they took being connected 24/7 for granted via cell phones and the Internet. This was a generation that was thoroughly nurtured.
It was and is a generation that was deep-fried in every environmental notion, no matter that its science was lacking or deliberately false. Surrounded by the benefits of technology, they have been told that much of it threatens the future of the planet.
As their parents came of age in the Reagan era of the 1980s, they grew up during the feckless years of the Clinton administration, questioning their parents about the sexual dalliance of the President while deluged with cultural messages that casual sex called “hooking up” was acceptable.
When George W. Bush became President, they would witness, not only 9/11, but the governmental debacle in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the torment of a strange “war against terror” being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. At home, there was no terror, but few would or could make any connection between those active conflicts and the steady degrading of the threat al Qaeda represents.
It is, therefore, no surprise that the Millennials were entranced by the message of “change” offered by President-elect Obama, excited by the prospect of electing the first Afro-American President, and expecting, as my New Orleans friends like to say, to let the good times roll on.
Norman Thomas, a former U.S. Socialist Party candidate for President in the 1940s, predicted that, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’, they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”
That day has arrived. Barack Obama is its standard-bearer.