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Response to Hekate (Reply #16)

Thu Jun 25, 2020, 12:59 PM

19. Okaaay...

So, let's review, shall we?

1.) You are yelling at me to "wake up" and "see" the "Class War," implying that I am oblivious to and wholly unaware of class inequality and injustice, correct? That is what you are asserting, am I right? In educated circles, such an assertion would be defined as a baseless claim given that there is no evidence whatsoever presented by either your words or mine in support of such a claim.

Ironically, I have written extensively about class inequities and would be happy to share with you if I was convinced that was a conversation you actually wished to have. However, I suspect you might very well be disappointed to find that you and I are likely in alignment on most if not all of the elements of that topic, and, thus, it would not provide the seemingly desired proverbial bone to pick.

2.) The OP to which I responded here speaks to the future political power of our younger generations. There is no mention of nor even a hint of "class warfare" as the topic of the OP---hence, it would have been a bit strange to proffer commentary about a "Class War" that our kids had no part in creating---a topic you seem to be very upset at me for not having addressed in the context of the political savviness of today's youth.

Rather than screaming at me for not speaking of something you clearly want highlighted, I would humbly suggest that perhaps you can simply post your own well-thought out reply to the OP about the topic you wish to correlate to what they have written.

3.) If it would help you connect a few dots in that regard, I can quote to you some of the class-related sentiments I've seen expressed by American teens. Or, you could just look them up yourself in online sources like Teen Ink, Affinity Magazine, Seventeen, Rookie Magazine, Teen Vogue, etc., as I did when conducting research last year for a study examining teenage perceptions of America's wealth gap. Either way, I think if you did a little digging, you would likely be inspired and infused with hope by their thoughts on the matter.

It really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has pondered it for half a minute that the kids raised in the shadow of the Great Recession---acutely aware of their parents' and other family members' financial struggles, with one out of every five experiencing malnutrition and hunger during their childhood---actually have some fairly honed positions as young adults about the inequities and hardships inflicted upon the majority by the 1%ers. Although they don't typically use the term "Class War," our youth are remarkably attuned to such issues as the "Wealth Gap," "Social Justice," and "Systemic Racism."

One reason the term "Class War" (the phrase itself, not the actual premises gathered over decades under this one umbrella label) doesn't resonate with younger generations as a battle cry around which to rally is that they largely see that war as having already been won---by the uber rich. Hence, from their perspective, time for new strategies and reframing of positions. Maybe, some suggest, it's time to quit framing every last living thing we do and think of in terms of "war."

Another reason "Class War" carries the taint of a losing slogan with younger folks is because of what has been allowed to happen to the "middle class." If you are completely flummoxed by "middle-class memes," then it means you grew up during or perhaps started a family yourself during a time when there actually was such a thing as a middle class.

Consider this: If the average household in America has only $400 in savings to draw upon in an emergency, i.e., one vet bill or car repair away from being overdrawn or one family member's health diagnosis away from total financial devastation, what percentage of the population would you say actually qualifies as "middle class"? Exactly. Hence, the eye-rolling and memes about that particular fallen soldier of the "Class War." As I heard said recently, "Dog, if you can't even afford to take care of a dog, you aren't middle class. That tail doesn't wag."

Now, consider this: The first modern generation to have been raised entirely within a timeframe in which there has been only this bizarre quasi-notion of a middle class, the loss of which they're none too happy about, only recently added their eldest Zoomers to the voting ranks of their Millennal brothers and sisters---this was after tRump was "elected." And the wave coming behind them is huge.

Another topic inexorably linked to discussions of "class" is that of racism. A while back, I came across a social survey taken of Millennial teenagers. In this survey, they were asked to pair specific words with others from a list. The aha factor within this survey was that the word "racism" was paired with the word "stupidity" by an overwhelming majority of the survey recipients, including by those who self-identified as white. I remember discussing with my colleagues at the time the implications this might have for a possible inflection point at long last. And now, over a decade later, this hypothesis is being borne out by the predominantly young, racially diverse citizens marching in the streets today demanding justice and equal rights for those who have been made to suffer the most.

Mentioned above are just a couple of the many issues that fall under the umbrella of class inequality. However, that should give you an idea of how an honest discussion about class issues as they relate to America's youth is so much more productive than simply bleating "Class War!"

4.) My original comment to this OP first and foremost points out the demographic facts of the wave that's coming---information that is widely available to anyone who cares to look.

While there's a lot of information that has been compiled about the nuts and bolts of this demographic sea change, for those who are perhaps not immersed in daily life with either Millennials or Zoomers, I recommend Charlotte Alter's book, "The Ones We've Been Waiting For: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America." It's a good primer to at least understanding the political and social justice mindset of America's soon-to-be largest voting bloc.

5.) I realize that my comment regarding the mess my own generation has made of things is what some will choose to get their panties all in a twist about. And I get that. There will always be shoot-the-messenger and deflection responses to uncomfortable truths.

For those of us of the Boomer and Silent Generations who are not so self-absorbed as to shy away from those truths, it does indeed positively suck to admit that so many of our own contemporaries were able to successfully wreak havoc for decades while so many others chose to remain blissfully apathetic---eventually landing us where we are today.

And, yes, it sucks to know that a large number of them, some of whom are our own friends and family, are so completely unapologetic about or totally oblivious to the damage they've caused that they have wholeheartedly given their lives over to a death cult with a giant Cheeto as their dear leader.

Meanwhile, some of us have been in a sustained fight for simple human decency for so very long---even gaining, against tremendous odds, some incremental successes along the way---that it is only natural to bristle at the thought that history will record how the opposition was largely successful in manipulating the sheer numbers of our generation to thwart and delay much of the progress our country needed at a critical juncture. Ultimately, those of us who held firm to progressive values---a minority position for much of our lives---have been yanked kicking and screaming to the brink of our current national nightmare.

Much has been written about the egocentricity of my own generation, and now we have reached a point in our timeline where sociologists and historians are tabulating the devastating results of that self-centeredness:

*The successful run of a long-con propaganda stunt labeled as "conservatism," resulting in the rise of the me-me Tea Party, transforming into the me-me-me "Freedom" Caucus, inevitably resulting in the near-complete degradation of the Republican Party, i.e. half of our two-party system dangerously corrupted and continuing to wield enough power to erode every aspect of civil society.

*An idiotic narcissist as president wreaking havoc and death across the nation. Nuff said.

*A severe, across-the-board weakening of our democratic institutions and our "rule of law" Constitutional framework---to the point that the U.S. no longer even ranks in the top 25 countries of the world as measured by common parameters defining a nation as a "democracy."

*A steady, unchecked, and unprecedented rise over the past 30 years of white supremacist domestic terrorists masquerading as "militias" and infiltrating every level of our police departments as well as much of our military.

And this is just the short list of what egocentricity in numbers has wrought. I'm sure you can add more examples, particularly when you start examining the injustices of our education, health care, and penal systems. However, allow me to place the cherry on the top:

*A petulant, uneducated attitude toward climate science that has brought us to the point where all of the above societal failures are likely to be the least of our worries ten years from now.

So yeah, all of that sucks. It's embarrassing to realize that a very sizable number of our own neighbors, and even our own friends and family members, were able to put all of us in such a dangerous position by combining malicious intent with large-scale apathy. For those of us who have rebelled against this through much of our lives, it is indeed a frustrating reality.

However, it is how one reacts to such truth that lays bare and confirms the degree to which any given individual has allowed the egocentricity with which they've been surrounded most of their lives to affect their thoughts and behaviors today.

So, for example, should someone point out how the majority opinions and attitudes of a given population has led to disaster, the egocentric reaction to such truth would be to personalize it down to just oneself. Never mind that you yourself as a member of that population have consistently argued most of your life against the positions, policies, or apathy of the majority of your peers. If you are yourself so acculturated into egocentricity, you will only ever see such a revelation as somehow an indictment of yourself rather than of those you fought against who caused the disaster.

As such, the typical reaction of an egocentric would be to deflect by claiming that their own good works and hard-fought battles are somehow being besmirched or ignored because the messenger acknowledges that within the same timeframe, the opposition was unfortunately able to inflict overwhelming and longer-lasting damage writ large.

Another common egocentric reaction to truth-in-context is to attempt to attribute alternative motives to the messenger so as to avoid honest reflection and intelligent discussion about actions and non-actions taken during specific periods of history. Thus, accusations about such silliness as "stoking a war of generations" are to be expected. (Again, dark and confounding notions of interpreting every little thing as a "war" has never proven to be particularly persuasive, let alone accurate).

Like I said, I get it that facing historical reality can be painful and even downright impossible for some. However, for those of us who do not fear transparency and examination of our own generations, the greatest thing we can do for our children's future is not just beat our chests about our own past efforts, but rather educate, educate, educate as to where we also ended up hitting giant brick walls from a sizable number of our own contemporaries.

In this way, hopefully, America's next largest generation will be better equipped to successfully bypass the obstacles we ourselves faced. That is, of course, pending Mother Nature gives them the chance.

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berni_mccoy Jun 2020 OP
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