What are we doing right now? How are we feeling? What are we going to do with our lives? These are all questions that I put forth to my generation of Americans. As you may remember, you were the focus of my writings last week. Well, I must tell you that I am a little dry on things to talk about this week. Therefore, I feel that as we head into the summer, I could send you off with some thoughts. In a way, this could be considered the second part of my generation analysis.
As I attacked the lack of concern for the political awareness among the youth, I acknowledged that many were too busy to pay attention. Listen to the second part. It is true, young Americans are too busy today. In some ways they are ambitious, but not ambitious in the sense of achievements beyond extraordinary means. Instead, it is all a matter of trying to keep their heads above water. Everyday, the focus of college-educated students is where and when can they get a job. Those below this level of education can almost forget about any career beyond mediocre. What happened to those bright American days, President Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on a hill”?
It is still unclear what some Americans are looking for today, because they are mostly preoccupied with getting through it. I have found myself being told by some older Americans to not be in such a hurry, to simply stop and enjoy life. That sounds great! Personally, I would love to be in the mid-1980s and 1990s (excluding the outdated music). Many of the youthful worries were minimal: you could get a job, sometimes not even high-stress ones, make a reasonable-to-great living and still enjoy a fun social life. It is true that a lifestyle like this cannot last forever, but when you are young and foolish, it is quite complementary. Now the social life you have is your job, and the benefits are not all that rewarding. If you take a little time to relax, you suddenly derail. So that is what my generation, unfortunately, has to say to that piece of advice.
In that case, it is a curious matter when it comes to determining what will become of this next generation of Americans when it comes to their country. It does appear evident that pride has gone down, but not in a matter of disgust with the nation as it was 30 years ago. Instead, it is more along the lines of pure indifference. To this next generation, the U.S. is just the country in which they were born and will continue to reside. The glory days of joining traditional patriotic causes such as the armed forces out of pride are gone, replaced by those who have no other outlet. Perhaps the youth of today will be a lot like the people of post-war Britain – just getting on with their lives, and electing representatives who serve their best interests. Yes, these could be the signs of American austerity.
I am by no means saying that America is leaving its heyday behind. That may have already happened, depending on how you look at it. Our technology-driven society has definitely cut down on our more genuine gifts. The aspects that have made us Americans are beginning to fade away. Many would claim that this is a bad thing, but the truth is this was bound to happen one way or another.
So this is where I leave you off for the summer, and hopefully something can spark in the next few months. But for now, it seems young Americans are just trying to make it through one day at a time.