Change begins with younger generation

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 | 11:46 a.m. CST; updated 7:14 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It really should surprise no one that many members of the twenty-something generation are in the mood for change. When you look behind at the world they inherited, it’s easy to see why they would like to see the country move in a new direction.

Certainly, one can’t argue with the advantages they have acquired. All the technology, conveniences and leisure activities so many have had bestowed on them have made their lives materially better than their parents’ and grandparents’. On the other hand, they have faced a series of the kind of challenges that can sour the spirit.

Theirs has been a world where violence is as common as clouds in the sky. From domestic violence to mass murder, their daily lives have been plagued by gruesome tales of bloodshed and acts of terror. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and forest fires in mind-numbing numbers have visited their homes, neighborhoods and communities across the country, piling devastation on top of the mounting pressure of everyday troubles. Terrorist bombs — from both domestic and foreign perpetrators — have made suspicion an important weapon in the war of survival. Increased incidents of child abduction, the spread of the AIDS epidemic, case after case of sexual abuse by priests, episode after episode of white-collar thievery and political corruption have made the last three decades a historical textbook in notoriety. And that doesn’t take into account the constant military activity from Grenada to Iraq and Afghanistan. And now, millions of home foreclosures.

Of course, every generation has seen hard times. But most of us from other generations had the advantage of growing up when stable families were the rule, not the exception, and when school attendance was considered mandatory. Most people would stay in their jobs until they reached retirement age. For most of our lives, everything we used was made in America and for many of those years everything we ate was grown on family farms. We were connected to the places where we lived, worked and raised our families — and that contributed greatly to our vision of America. When all the food you eat and the goods you use come from somewhere else, when the people you elect to office feel no loyalty to your cause and when the people with whom you are employed move the company to another country, it’s understandable that your sense of connectedness would be broken. You could easily feel like a man or woman without a country.

One would like to hope that this generation can change the direction of the country. And I personally feel that re-establishing a sense of connection is vital to that process. Of course, the globalist will consider that a very nationalistic view point. I would like them to tell me how a self-governing entity emerges among a group of individuals who share the same environment but have nothing else in common. I have a hard time accepting that simply sharing the same globe with some people who live under dictatorships and others who live in socialist societies will result in our becoming one big happy family. Is a desire to make money enough?

I think the two-party system will be a hindrance to anyone who tries to make changes. I believe that it will take a party of independents to do that. The two parties’ hold on the governing process has to be put aside. They are too tied into doing things the way they have always been done. In other words, they are too strung out on history and tradition. Even though we all know that we do not have in public office today people who see America through the eyes of a Thomas Jefferson or an Abraham Lincoln, we find it convenient to enjoy the myth. This is not the same America of Lincoln or Jefferson’s day. They saw the country through the lens with which their life experiences had provided them. The country changed and so did the people. And consequently, so did the vision.

If the direction of the country is to change, folks are going to have to take off the glasses and take out the contact lenses and look with a clear gaze at what we have created and the way it has affected our quality of life — and begin to take steps to repair our creation.

If we remain stuck with the two-party system and no changes occur, I would appreciate — at the very least — if this generation would do it no further harm. I am not a fan of the youth culture, but I can understand the frustration they face in a world that seems consumed with money, power, sex and violence.

Maybe wanting a better world for their own children will provide them with enough incentive to go to work to make a difference. Time will tell.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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