The Possibility of Bonding Two Attitudes of Two Generations?
Protests against the War In Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Liberation Movement, the escalation of the anti-abortion/pro-life debate, the gay community coming out of the closet and protesting in the streets, the epidemic of aides, and the Drug Revolution were all earmarks of the “Baby Boomer” generation as they reached their late teens and early twenties in an effort to turn their world around. That generation coined the term “anti-establishment” in a quest to question the existing institutions of their time. Today’s “Twenty-Teeners”, those who will be in their twenties between 2013 through 2019 are feeling the strain of now two decades of military endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan, social profiling against Mexicans and Muslims, the still continuing debate between anti-abortionists and pro-lifers, the possibility of acceptance of civil gay marriages, an overburdening health care system that they can not afford, and a possibility of a severe economy restrains, and a never-ending two party stalemate in government as their earmarks. Like their predecessors almost 50 years earlier, they too have this anti-establishment mentality toward institutions. I believe the next social and political revolution in America will be over this “anti-institutional” mentality. The time is ripe for this to arise.
The “twenty-teeners” have a “flat world” view. They see everything socially on a horizontal plane based on relationships empowered by the internet and the current trends in “social networking”. Relationships are of the utmost importance, thus the influence of MySpace, Facebook, Google+, Tweeting, blogging, and texting as “communication tools” in this “relationship” generation. They are beginning to show their abhorrence towards pyramidal structures or establishments or institutions. They cannot find mutual horizontal relationships in a CEO business climate with those above them, but can social network with their peers while sitting in the cubby-holes at work. They do not see horizontal relationships in the currently political process where party members have become puppets of their party’s political bosses causing stalemate after stalemate, wishing horizontal relationships would be used to bring bi-partisanship, horizontal relationships to solve problems. They are having trouble understanding a clergy/laity mentality in the Church rather than a horizontal relationship of believers in the body of Christ. They are turned off by church as an institution while seeking church as something “relational” between them and their God and them and their peers.
Like their anti-establishment predecessors 50 years ago who fought against the “Leave It To Beaver” pristine 1950’s nuclear family and the moral standards of their generation, this anti-institutional group of “twenty-teeners” is fighting against the “Dallas” image of rich CEO magnets greedily running our economics and politics while hording our financial resources. I predict that this “horizontal” bond of “relationship” seekers, no matter how strong or how shallow, will mold into an economic, political, and cultural force that will challenge the way the world does business, politics, follows social morals, as well as the way they see, think, and “do” Church on not only a local, state, regional, and national level, but most of all on a “world wide” level.
Economically we are beginning to realize how small countries like “Greece”, “Spain”, and Middle Eastern countries can bring economic woes to entire world markets. People can “E-Trade” themselves in the Stock Market rather than going through traditional “brokers” anywhere in the world through the internet, thus the Stock Exchange of the United States has investors from all over the world. The same “world wide” information is now available to everyone throughout the world, not just the socially and politically privileged as in the past. Information is vast and fast, affecting the scope of they way we have to think about education. The world view and the way we view the world is changing; thus the clash of two different generations, two different mindsets, two different points of view.
In spite of their differences, there may be some commonality between the two generations, for as youth, they both seek to dethrone the political and economic “established” “institutionalized” powers of their times for horizontal freedoms, fluidity of thought and ideas, and a challenge to change their worlds they live in for the good. It is a shame that the “anti-establishment” generation is now the “institutional” providers, maintainers, and developers, the very thing they opposed in their youth. Maybe the time is right for both generation to look ahead, as peers, as equals, in a horizontal relationship to move forward as we face the change of the future.