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Opinion: Generation split reveals misguided priorities

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

As my time here draws to a close and I reflect on my years at A&M, I can’t help but feel a disconnect between our generation and those past.

Unlike the greatest generation, the baby boomers and generation X, we, the millennials, generation Y are still desperately seeking an identity.

Previous generations faced definitive big-ticket issues from civil war to civil rights and World Wars to Cold Wars and Vietnam. There were winners and losers.

Generation Y suffers from a lack of definitive battles to be won. We have the War on Terror, income gaps and gender gaps — all measured in shades of gray.

The result is an aimlessness today among our generation that is disconcerting — we don’t tackle one issue, we tackle them all in short passionate spurts.

We decided changing our Facebook statuses was an effective way to stop child abuse against all reason. It defied all logic but it was quick, it was easy and, heck, it made us feel good.

We donated tens of thousands of dollars by texting Haiti. Never mind that the Haitian government has perfected poverty, ruling the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Never mind as much as 40 percent of donations went to the problem rather than the solution.

Then we jumped on the KONY2012 bandwagon, a movement that funded salaries, travel and more videos for the organization while the rest funded a Ugandan military as deplorable as Joseph Kony’s withering and meager Lord’s Resistance Army.

We want a cause, an identity, and seem determined to throw as much against the wall as we can until something finally sticks. Don’t wear shoes this week, rage about bullying the next then make sure you put some skittles at the feet of Sul Ross.

There is certainly no lack of passion from our generation and no lack of problems in the world; I can only hope that as we grow older and our generation matures we can gain a bit of perspective and focus.

World Wars I and II weren’t won in a day on Twitter. The Civil Rights movement didn’t succeed because someone made a status update, “We have rights now FTW!”

I hope we can find the dedication and commitment to do the hard work of making the world a better place so when the next generation wants to know about us no one asks “whY?”

Taylor Wolken is a senior economics major.

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