“The standard accusations levied against this generation — about our legendary narcissism, our sense of entitlement, our endless whining — are destructive precisely because they ignore the magnitude of the crises that we face (and unless you grew up during the Great Depression, then no, I’m sorry, you really didn’t have it “just as tough” when you were our age). Perhaps if the middle-class weren’t eroding before our very eyes, or if the economy was actually creating good jobs, or if there were any labor movement at all – or if the super-rich simply hadn’t managed to successfully hijack our democracy and our courts … perhaps then, things would be different. And if, in this idyllic utopia of our hippie-liberal imaginations, millennials were still the whiny, spoiled, entitled brats we’re so frequently portrayed as, accusations about our lack of character might be both fair and accurate.
Unfortunately, we’ll never know. The world we’ve inherited, this plutocratic “free-market” horror show, is crushing millions of young people desperate for work — any work. This is the most obvious reason that millennials seem so prone to “whining.” It’s also why these accusations must stop. This brand of criticism is enormously ignorant and offensive — it trivializes the massive, systemic problems facing this country and this generation. Due to the profligacy and waste of older Americans, the economic problems that young people will face — massive federal debt payments, shrinking research and education budgets, crumbling infrastructure, a fast-changing climate — are crises that have no easy remedy. They’re also essentially ticking time bombs that, if not soon addressed, will wreak enormous destruction on our economy and our ecology for the decades, centuries, perhaps millennia to come.”
Tim Donovan in Salon, “Boomers are humiliating themselves: Why their pandering to millennials is so sad.”