It was the summer of 2011, and the occupy movement was in full swing.
The participants were passionate, strong minded, bent on change and completely aimless. There were no goals, no leaders and absolutely no point to what was happening in parks across the country. The “99 percent” achieved nothing that summer, and rather than learning from their mistakes and adapting, they instead decided to adopt a new fad several years later named Bernie Sanders.
When it comes to understanding the hearts and minds of the current college-aged generation, known as Millennials, the Occupy movement is important to study. It showcases how our beliefs and ways of doing things differ from previous generations, such as the middle-aged, white, conservative Tea Party movement, which has been much more successful at almost destroying the country.
The Tea Party has an organized system of leadership and specific legislation they want passed. The Tea Party has purpose and drive – the movements of the younger generation have no such drive.
This aimlessness is most evident in how young Americans debate or otherwise move toward change. Screaming and complaining are the most popular forms of civil disobedience. Though temper tantrums might have worked on ineffectual and spineless parents, it works horribly on people with actual power.
The greatest civil rights activists, such as Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr., accomplished wonders through brilliantly organized movements that changed the unfair power dynamics in their respective nations. Millennials would rather complain loudly and then go home feeling better about themselves.
One great example of this is the Millennial-led Black Lives Matter movement, which has bizarrely decided to mostly back Bernie Sanders, despite the fact that Hillary Clinton”s husband proved extremely effective in turning around conditions for minorities in downtrodden inner cities. Older minorities recognize this and back Mrs. Clinton, the younger voters would rather place their trust in an aging senator from the mostly white state of Vermont than someone who knows what they are doing.
This isn”t to say the madness is confined to politics. America”s young adults have also done a fantastic job of destroying their own sense of self-worth and accomplishment. Rather than focusing on working hard and getting good grades, America”s average college student would rather have 300 likes on Instagram.
This selfishness comes from years of being told that everyone is “special.” Sure, everyone has the right to be important, but they must be important to themselves first.
Those who climbed the ladders of success to reach the top did so by understanding that the world owes them nothing and made the most of life. Instead, the youth of today would rather complain about how expensive college is.
The harshest fact of life is that it is notoriously unfair, something this generation cannot seem to understand. To borrow a sports term, sometimes the ball just doesn”t bounce your way. For years, the American people understood this and dealt with it, but the youth of today would rather spend their valuable time complaining.
Sam Balas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org