Hey Everyone!! :-)
Take a look! ;-)
Hilarious, right? And so very true. And yet... It's not really the whole story, is it? Don't get me wrong, I think the song is funny as hell and the gentleman in it, Micah Tyler, is incredibly talented. If you look on YouTube, you can find some of his other work as well, and it's definitely worth a listen. His channel is here: Micah Tyler on YouTube. And as I said, the song makes some very good points about the Millennial generation, but it also leaves a lot out.
First off, I'll start by saying that I was born in 1980, so I may or may not officially be a Millennial, depending on who you ask. ;-) However, for the purposes of this post, I'll count myself as a Millennial. If you follow this blog at all, you know I've written a few posts on American politics and the 2016 US Presidential election. As I've said before, I support Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race and if he doesn't run in the general election, I'll be supporting Dr. Jill Stein. If you want to know more about my thoughts on that, you can read about them here: Why I'm Saying #BernieOrBust.
Unsurprisingly, I've heard a lot from people who seem to think "Millennials just want a bunch of free stuff." Well, let's look at that claim. The "free stuff" that Bernie Sanders and Dr. Stein talk about are universal healthcare and college tuition. Now, if you are of the opinion that it's okay to allow people to die from curable/treatable illnesses or injuries because they can't pay, I don't know what to tell you except that we are so far apart in worldview that it would take a lot more than a blog post for us to find common ground. As far as I'm concerned, access to necessary healthcare is a human right and the US is inexcusably behind in coming to terms with that and taking appropriate action. We, as a society, have the capacity to provide healthcare to all our citizens, and the fact that we are not doing so is disgusting.
As for college tuition, let's take a look at how things have changed over the last few decades. Here's a chart from Buzzfeed on the cost of college tuition vs. minimum wage over time:
Which, unsurprisingly, has led to increases in student loan debt, which is illustrated by this chart from Huffington Post:
And, of course, you've got headlines like this driving even more people to pursue college degrees:
So, I think it's clear that what a person who is entering the workforce needs in terms of training and qualifications in order to succeed in finding a well-paying job has changed over time and has also increased in price. Add to that the fact that many of those well-paying jobs disappeared thanks to the worst economic crash since the Great Depression, a crash, by the way, that was the fault not of Millennials but of older generations, and you have created an inescapable trap for many young people.
Since we, as a society, seem to have decided that overall we need more formal education for our population, doesn't it make sense that we give more people the opportunity to achieve that standard? Isn't that the way to make the best use of our human resources? After all, the return on investment for the GI Bill is estimated to be almost 700% (http://www.djdinstitute.org/h_gifact.html), it's hard to find a better return for our money than that!
Now, I don't know anyone who really thinks that universal healthcare or publicly funded education is "free." I think most people understand that these things cost money and that money has to come from somewhere. But when the US government gives billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies and trillions of dollars to bail-out Wall Street criminals, many of us start asking if there aren't better ways to spend that money.
Well, you ask, what about the criticisms in the song? Good question! Maybe they just need to be looked at in a different light. When you think about it, Millennials really have no incentive to buy into the system that exists. After all, the first time many of them approached it, they were kicked in the teeth for their trouble. As a result, it didn't take long for them to learn that the system is rigged against them. And only a fool chooses to play a game they can't win.
So, Mr. Man-Bun-Coffee-Shop? Maybe he's writing the next OS platform that's going to blow both Windows and Mac out of the water. Ms. Yoga-Pants-Selfies? Maybe she's working to set up an environmental conservation non-profit funded through sales of Green cosmetics and toiletries. Because if there's one thing you can say about Millennials as a whole, they're generally pretty good at figuring out how to go over, under, or around the system that doesn't work for them. They've had to be. And just because someone prefers to do their work somewhere other than a cubicle under soul-killing florescent lights doesn't mean they don't work hard.
Most millennials are also often pretty good at networking through non-traditional forums. This is evidenced by everything from how Millennials consume their news to how they entertain themselves to how they interact with others. That's also, by the way, largely why Bernie Sanders was as successful as he was during this election cycle. Something to think about for the future, huh?
But that brings us back to why Bernie Sanders captured the hearts and minds of Millennials. Because, let's be honest, it's pretty hard to get Millennials to put forth a lot of effort for anything they aren't enthusiastic about. The answer to that is pretty obvious, his message resonates with them on many levels. Yes, the idea of universal healthcare and higher education are certainly attractive to anyone who wants to live in a healthy, educated society. But it isn't just those things that score points with Millennials.
By and large, most Millennials understand that we're at a tipping point when it comes to climate change. In fact, we're already feeling the early effects of the damage we've done to our planet. Bernie Sanders has been very, very clear that moving our society towards Green alternatives is a big priority of his, and that he would address the matter on several different levels. Thanks to all that college debt, Millennials are, overall, the most educated generation ever. Many of them understand the danger that we're in and appreciate Bernie Sanders's firms stance on the issue.
Then, there's also Bernie Sanders's plan to "break up the big banks and regulate Wall Street." As I said, many Millennials' first foray into the business world was met with the crushing reality of the Great Recession, and the fact that the jobs they spent so many years working so hard to prepare and qualify for no longer existed. So when Bernie Sanders says he wants to un-rig the game, and level the playing field, yeah, that resonates with people who have been fighting against impossible odds their entire adult lives.
What's the point of all this? To point out that what you have is a sizable and growing group of people who don't trust the system set up by their elders, who are good at finding ways of accomplishing goals that don't require the approval of said system, who have a lot of experience reaching out and connecting with people all over the globe without going through "official channels," and who are clearly looking for a leader. Is Bernie Sanders that leader? Maybe. Maybe not. Time will tell. But if not him, someone will come along and lead. If nothing else, nature abhors a vacuum. And when that person, or those people, appear(s) and Millennials finally realize how much they're capable of accomplishing, I think the world will be in for a surprise.
So, are there things to criticize about the Millennial generation? Of course, just like with every generation, we have our strengths and our weaknesses. But it's not really fair to complain that it has taken Millennials more time to become independent than it has other generations when they've had to deal with economic conditions that other generations didn't have to deal with. After all, if all you give someone is a big, steaming pile of bullshit, don't bitch if it takes them some time to turn that manure into produce. Pray for Millennials? Yes! Pray that we come into our own soon. Because you need us and so does the planet we all share.