We have been called “a lost generation…[not] giving birth to anything new” and “too quiet, too online.” In fact the opposite is true. There is a deafening roar in cyberspace. If a presidential election can be won through the support of an online movement, if articles and ideas can reach tens of millions of people overnight, and create a four-thousand person discussion, if YouTube can receive 200,000 new videos a day, then being “too quiet” and “too online” is the opinion of someone who doesn’t understand what it means to be online. Not creating anything new and not being loud enough are not our problems. So why the disrespect from the famous 60s generation? Because we aren’t doing what they want us to do.
Most of us were born after the end of the Cold War or were too young to remember it. The political climate we grew up in was one of supreme hypocrisy. One President nearly got impeached for a superficial sex scandal and then another later broke international laws to preemptively start a war without UN support and was re-elected to serve 2 full terms without so much as a breath of legal retribution.
The problem my generation faces is inheriting a world that baffles us: a world of hypocrisy and crisis; a world on the brink of collapse yet at the height of human civilization.
Imagine for a moment being one of us. Taught in school that all people are created equal, that all countries are sovereign, that freedom, democracy, and capitalism are embraced by all people and nations because they are ultimate ideals that allow us to prosper and live as we choose in the pursuit of happiness. Old enough to read the New York Times online and blog on Huffington Post, we see a very different world. Equality? Not for the poor, not for LGBT. Capitalism? It appears to have been a house of cards recklessly constructed by greed for the benefit of a few. Sovereignty? Not for resource-poor or oil-rich countries. Ideals? Not for the media or our political and business leaders.
Now we must navigate a world where a concentration of power, wealth, and media often conflicts with every ideal the Western world is supposed to stand for. If you think we are too quiet and too online you should consider that we have two choices. One, to accept the values we were taught to believe in and totally redefine and reconstruct the way our government/economy/society works so that these ideals match reality. Or two, to accept the world we live in and think up a new set of values to justify our lives."
— Your Generation of Hypocrisy Begat My Apathetic(?!) One. - Cameron Russell, 2009.