The Pursuit of Happiness

331

Factotums in the Lexicography Department of the Oxford English Dictionary have chosen “youthquake” as the Word of the Year in 2017. A noun, youthquake is defined as “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.”

What?

Please, young people, accept my apologies for the mess we Baby Boomers have left you to clean up. Yes, I know you know that Boomers have most of the money and caught all of the breaks – and we still get the Senior Coffee discount at Mickey D’s. Yes, I’m aware that we’re still in charge of the government, and that old people get a bazillion dollars from Uncle Sugar every year. Again, my apologies. But what cultural or social norm did you shake, rattle, and roll in 2017? What event, movement, or “significant change” occurred from your actions or influence? Where’s the “quake,” kiddoes?

Today’s young people earn nearly a third less than Baby Boomers did for doing the same work. They’re also paying three times more (in adjusted dollars) for education than Grandpa did back when he went to Woodstock with his girlfriend, Starshine. And, if they work very hard and earn a PhD, it’s possible they’ll join the other 33,650 post docs currently on food stamps. Anyone besides me wondering how long they’ll put up with it?

Millennials (18-35 years of age) are now as large a political force as Baby Boomers, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data from the Pew Research Center. Each generation represents 31% of the overall population of eligible voters. But Millennials don’t vote in the same number as Baby Boomers; only about 46% of them voted in the 2016 elections, the lowest turnout of any age group. If a political “youthquake” occurred in politics lately, I missed it.

I’m also missing it when I attend political party meetings, or go to Quorum Court or City Council meetings. These events are almost entirely populated by Boomers – for the benefit of Boomers. It’s time for Millennials to grow up and not only vote, but to run for office too.

It’s time to put Pokemon Go away.