Rob Seimetz’s Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers is great.
Now that I’m 34, I can really see something I basically knew as a kid: it made a big difference that my parents were the same age as most of my peers’ grandparents. My mom was 39 when she had me, and my dad was in his mid-40s. I’m sure that I’d parent differently now than I would’ve at age 20.
There’s clearly been a mass parenting failure, and Seimetz puts it into words very well. The last post on this blog was about a grown woman proud of the fact that she has no idea why honesty is good. Very basic, kindergarten-level lessons about sharing, cooperation, respect, etc. aren’t being taught.
After pointing out that Trump embodies the Baby Boomers, Seimetz gets at the root causes. I’m less enthusiastic about people always expressing themselves:
Then you wonder why my generation made it all about “me”. We learned this from you. See anytime we couldn’t handle our emotions as children or became upset over something you didn’t want to deal with it. You told us to go to our rooms and think about what we have done, you put us in “timeouts”. You did this because suppressing our feelings made things more convenient for you. The way our emotions made you feel was more important than us expressing our emotions. You taught us suppression instead of expression. It was in these moments we were taught nothing gets in the way of the stability of your feelings. You had the opportunity to let us in, but instead you shut us out. Now you wonder why it’s all about us and we are self-absorbed?
Maybe if we learned about our feelings and expressing them more people in this world would help others and the planet would be prioritized over profit. But see your generation doesn’t look at the big picture, and now you’re begging us to do so since climate change is here. And then there are a lot of you who don’t care about climate change because when things get bad you will be dead already. But we are the “me” generation right?
If my generation is generation “selfie” then you are a generation of settlers. Your settling only enhanced my generation’s selfishness. Even though some of you protested the Vietnam War many of you went home and settled for endless war inflicted abroad on innocent men, women, and children. Even though some of you supported and/or protested for the civil rights act, once it was passed you went home. While you celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr now you have forgotten that he was marginalized and penniless when he was assassinated. You forgot he was taking on U.S. Imperialism, he wanted to invest in poor communities and stop waging war abroad. While you remember his I have a dream speech, you abandoned that dream of continuing to take on the issues he gave his life for. This was his nightmare.
See once you got married and had kids you stayed home and you preached words to us like “faith” and “hope”. These words were used to us in a context of pacifism and inaction, we were told to have “faith” in something or “hope” for something. This goes along with your “do what feels good” and “life is a game” mantra.
It’s these words and phrases that speak to the self centered mindset you have for you and your immediate family.
Doing what feels good requires little thinking and really what you mean is do what feels good for you, not doing right for others and the natural world. It’s making it about “me” not “we”. It promotes small-minded stubbornness.
You had that luxury to do what feels good because you have a more financially secure life than your parents. My generation is not getting that progression, my generation has to live at home with their parents. My generation has to deal with the fact that 51% of all Americans make under $30,000 year despite wages being stagnant since the 1970s you have settled for that because that may not have impacted you.
If you don’t raise your children to take care of what’s important, rich people will raise them to take care of rich people.
The looks of disgust your generation gives mine when you see us buried in our smartphones, smart watches, smart tablets, and smart televisions as we watch honey boo boo with our “bae” is a reflection on taking the easy way out with us. You worshiped technology and celebrity when we were growing up so where did you think this was all leading to? You were content on us playing video games instead of engaging in relationships with the community and the natural world. Your shortsightedness failed to see to quote Neil Everden that “It is easier to live alone than to learn the constraints and obligations of community life.” Or maybe you knew this but you did what was convenient for you. And now we feel alone and look for smart devices as a means of comfort and community.
A million times this:
If you were really sorry for leaving the planet the way you have for us you wouldn’t say this to me in some off the cuff way. If you’re really that sorry then what are you going to do about it or are doing about it? You have plenty of time to show your remorse and do something to show your sorrow instead of fading into oblivion or as this culture calls it settling on the retired life.
The insincerity that plagues my generation was put there by its parents. They go to work in the morning, work to cut off as many routes to upward mobility as possible, then complain about their children for not having the jobs they off-shored or automated or don’t pay enough to cover the costs of commuting to the job.
I love that Seimetz called out the old people for their shallow MLK fetish. “Progressives” and such are still very attached to 1960s-style public demonstrations, the repression of which has been perfected since at least the late 1990s. It should have been obvious protesting didn’t do anything when the world’s largest-ever coordinated demonstrations, which took place all over the world, were dismissed by George Bush as a “focus group” and we’re still working on destroying all their mosques.
MLK himself said:
A boycott is never an end within itself. It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor but the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption.
It was very clear during GW Bush administration that they have no shame. Does Donald Trump understand the concept of shame? So what the fuck is a demonstration going to accomplish? 1960s activist tactics depended on 1960s cultural norms.
This is the root of liberal reporters writing about how much Europeans and Nancy Pelosi hate Donald Trump, and then being surprised that his support kept rising the more they wrote about him.
If we ourselves don’t understand the concept of shame, and reject the concept of shame, we cannot even understand what MLK was trying to accomplish. But liberals deify him without understanding. He was a preacher. He took for granted concepts like the imperfection of Man, original sin, temptation, redemption, etc. Those are all concepts that liberal and conservative religion have abandoned because they’re no fun, contradicting the state religion of consumerism (“Go to the mall” was Bush’s funeral ritual for 9/11).
This is what Frantz Fanon said:
When a black man speaks of Marx, the first reaction is the following: “We educated you and now you are turning against your benefactors. Ungrateful wretches! You’ll always be a disappointment.”
When a black man speaks of Marx today, the first reaction is “Huh?” This is why we can’t have nice things. We can’t even talk like it’s obvious the white people think they own us, anymore.