Since the State of the Union, President Obama has made a marked turn in the focus of his rhetoric. He insists upon the necessity of "winning the future" and "out-competing the rest of the world." This is all very nice for the country that took names and kicked ass for the first three-quarters of the 20th Century but it ignores the gradual decline in our economic strength and global eminence that has occurred since then.
In simply comparing the achievements of the "greatest generation" against those of the baby boomers, it becomes apparent when observing the aggregate that the baby boomers are selfish, unmotivated, and irresponsible both on a civic and a personal level. This is not to say that that the "greatest generation" was perfect -- after all, they raised the baby boomers -- or that the youngest are without fault -- we have inherited many of our parents' failings --ut merely to highlight the disparity in contribution to the progression of society and America.
And suddenly, President Obama says that it is the responsibility of the millennial generation to "win the future." Never mind the fact that the world's most wealthy and productive country does not even rank in the top ten for academic achievement or that we are so distracted and over-stimulated that we have difficulty maintaining an integrated perspective on our world. If we had such a perspective we would see that we are already being out-competed and we have been on the decline economically, socially, and intellectually for some time now. We aren't even good corporatists anymore. China is emitting more greenhouse gases than we are!
Globalist economics rewards corporations that send manufacturing jobs to countries with less stringent labor laws. Socially, we have either chosen or been conditioned to use technology to drive a wedge between our peers and us. In our prioritization of money as the be-all/end-all of our society, we degrade our humanity. While many of the people at the bottom of the food chain explain away the egregious wealth disparity perpetrated against them with the premise that America rewards individual achievement and it could have been them, they fail to observe the extent to which they have been disenfranchised by the insatiable greed of the go-getters.
Yes, there are industrious people out with good ideas who would improve the state of society for all, but we have allowed a larger culture of investment bankers and stockbrokers to fester and breed to the detriment of our economy and our culture's integrity. These reckless parasites make extravagant sums of money gambling on the labor of others while hoarding wealth and contributing nothing to the improvement of society. Economic power is dangerous and should be left in the hands of those with the strength of character to generate it through constructive means.
In their youth, the baby boomers questioned some of the actions of the Aristocracy of Wealth, especially when it affected their well-being -- the draft, civil rights, women's rights, etc. -- but they never organized to confront the underlying culture of corporatism and elitism that perpetrated the problems. This is the part of Dr. King's Dream that we whitewash over and still today, baby boomers and their children remain reasonably content to let those with the most economic power dictate the direction of culture.
We take technological advancements as they are given to us without questioning whether they truly improve our lives. The world becomes a less personal place and our lives become increasingly abstract. Our loss of perspective is to their advantage because it pacifies us to the injustice being perpetrated against us. There is no "winning the future" in a system like this; it only devalues and strips the future of any context so that greater disparities can be perpetrated against the unsuspecting whose love for this world is untainted by the complexities they fail to perceive. Why would I want to "win the future" for this system? Our frayed status quo is so decrepit that can it only serve as toilet paper to clean the fecal residue from my parents' chaffed, corporate-collaborating anuses. Perhaps if it had been engineered like a diaper, the explosive diarrhea that was the "Great Recession" could have been contained.Human history has a grand tradition of filial piety and ancestor veneration but there have also been times when the conditions of the world have reached a state of such decrepitude that the young become cognizant of the necessity to throw off the chains of their parents' misconceptions. The 1960's was such a time, and while the youth movement contributed to the establishment of a greater cultural equality, it ultimately failed to stand strong and organize against the fundamental source of the injustice. Nixon mobilized his "Silent Majority" of corporate patsies, and thus we are left with the repercussions of the informed's failure to assert the anachronism of the industrial capitalist order.
I would argue that today is such a time, or will soon become one when the baby boomers' haphazard patchwork to the status quo frays beyond the comfort and feigned apathy of the young. President Obama -- f*ck your civility and the future you want me to win. I'm going to stay angry in hopes that the spark catches my contemporaries and we organize to right your wrongs.