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8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance - Alternet

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WillyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 04:54 PM
Original message
8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance - Alternet
8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance
By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet
Posted on July 31, 2011, Printed on August 5, 2011

<snip>

Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.

Young Americanseven more so than older Americansappear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it. A 2010 Gallup poll asked Americans Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire? Among 18- to 34-years-olds, 76 percent of them said no. Yet despite their lack of confidence in the availability of Social Security for them, few have demanded it be shored up by more fairly payroll-taxing the wealthy; most appear resigned to having more money deducted from their paychecks for Social Security, even though they dont believe it will be around to benefit them.

How exactly has American society subdued young Americans?

1. Student-Loan Debt. Large debtand the fear it createsis a pacifying force. There was no tuition at the City University of New York when I attended one of its colleges in the 1970s, a time when tuition at many U.S. public universities was so affordable that it was easy to get a B.A. and even a graduate degree without accruing any student-loan debt. While those days are gone in the United States, public universities continue to be free in the Arab world and are either free or with very low fees in many countries throughout the world. The millions of young Iranians who risked getting shot to protest their disputed 2009 presidential election, the millions of young Egyptians who risked their lives earlier this year to eliminate Mubarak, and the millions of young Americans who demonstrated against the Vietnam War all had in common the absence of pacifying huge student-loan debt.

Today in the United States, two-thirds of graduating seniors at four-year colleges have student-loan debt, including over 62 percent of public university graduates. While average undergraduate debt is close to $25,000, I increasingly talk to college graduates with closer to $100,000 in student-loan debt. During the time in ones life when it should be easiest to resist authority because one does not yet have family responsibilities, many young people worry about the cost of bucking authority, losing their job, and being unable to pay an ever-increasing debt. In a vicious cycle, student debt has a subduing effect on activism, and political passivity makes it more likely that students will accept such debt as a natural part of life.

2. Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance. In 1955, Erich Fromm...

<snip>

Much More: http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/151850

Bruce E. Levine is a clinical psychologist and author of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite (Chelsea Green, 2011). His Web site is www.brucelevine.net

:shrug:
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keynesFailed Donating Member (35 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. oh please
conspiracy theories.
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. No kidding!
There has never been a time when two or more parties planned to do something wrong.

Who could ever believe that!
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Where the hell are Xboxes, Doritos, and "helicopter parents" on that list?
I don't buy any of those arguments.
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. I think I found them
I'd put Xboxes and Doritos in the "fundamentalist consumerism" category of point #8, and I'd put helicopter parents in point #6, "the normalization of surveillance".

I can't say I agree with all of what Levine says here, but this piece did make me think.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #16
41. Hehehe--I must say, your characterization of today's parents as
overseers involved in surveillance of their children is an amusing (and not entirely inaccurate) concept!
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. Parents today tend to go to opposite extremes, in my observation
Either they're micromanaging their kids' lives, or they're oblivious to what's happening with the little darlings, usually on an airplane or in a restaurant.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #16
47. What is a helicopter parent?
I am so fr behind the times - good thing I no longer am raising a kid.
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #47
48. Someone who is constantly "hovering" over their little Golden Child.
Poor kids, never allowed to have unstructured anything.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-07-11 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #48
60. Gotcha. I know those people very well. n/t
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demwing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. Oh please
conspiracy deniers
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Ruby the Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. Thank you mods.
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musette_sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
24. well done mods
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DirkGently Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
49. Not a conspiracy. A cultural phenomenon.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
52. oh thanks
Thanks to whoever scraped this shit splatter off of DU.
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
2. K&R C. Wright Mills railed against the "inactionary masses" and
Edited on Fri Aug-05-11 04:59 PM by amborin
Herbert Marcuse described tv-viewing and media influence as "passive totalitarianism"
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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
4. K&R
nt
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
5. We were rebels because TV was crappy back then
and because it wasn't snarked at if you cared about politics and humanity.. I always blame Saturday Night Live for beginning the trend of just making fun of everything heartfelt. I really got attacked for that view, but I think that "cool" mentality still reigns.

In other words, you don't get strokes for giving a damn.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. There was snark back then--it was just directed at "authority."
Remember when the police were PIGS? Even the one who rescued Granny from the mugger, or the kitten out of the tree.

Anyone in a position of authority was THE MAN? And of course, THE MAN was always trying to "put you down." Some of them weren't, but you couldn't tell some kids that.

Don't trust anyone over thirty? (That worked real well, until the cool 'youth' started turning thirty).

A lot of the protest jingles were pretty snarky, too. This isn't to say they weren't clever, but they certainly weren't designed to stimulate thoughtful discussion; they were designed to incite and irritate and annoy "the man," AKA authority figures in law enforcement and government.

Then, of course, there was the emerging role of women and other societal changes like integration, which produced a lot of snarkworthy moments (this snark usually came from "the man" and was directed at women and minorities, though the "little woman" married to "the man" would often reinforce his POVs with snark of her own...the theme in these cases was usually "Know your PLACE" with a dash of racism/sexism on the side... or else!).

TV was pretty crappy, I'll grant you that. Three stations, four if you counted PBS, and that was that. It was easy to get a captive audience with something that wasn't really all that great, it just had to be better than the other two guys.

I think snark, in varying forms, has been around since the dawn of man. These more recent generations certainly didn't invent sarcasm. They may turn to it more frequently, but then, they're sure not reading much poetry these days, so I suppose they need to fill the gap with something...
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Very well described. It's true that we had obvious cultural enemies
and the cops were called pigs. The lines were drawn between us younguns and our parents as well, now many parents are enmeshed with their kids, "friends", it was better when you hid your pot from them, not smoked it with them!

Drugs were involved too. One acid trip and all the underlying stuff was revealed, the phoniness of life, the lack of importance of the material..
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. TV was FAR from "crappy." Star-Trek, Smothers Bros, Laugh-In, TWTWTW, Dick Cavett,
Man From U.N.C.L.E., etc.

1966-1972 was a far different milieu than post-Watergate America.
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musette_sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 08:28 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. +1
especially for TWTWTW
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. don't remember that one
The Wild Wild West uhhh
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musette_sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. Weekly political satire revue
Edited on Fri Aug-05-11 09:38 PM by musette_sf
originated on BBC with David Frost as host

NBC did the American version, also with David Frost as host

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_Was_The_Week_That_Was

(Required viewing during my childhood)
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #21
27. I LOVE ILLYA KURYAKIN! I was a total fan, so maybe I should say "less variety" nt
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kiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #27
42. Yes, and it's been strange seeing him age as Ducky in NCIS.
Thank Ceiling Cat I haven't aged :D
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #21
39. TV was crappy when "Dad" (aka "The Man") was the one who decided what the family was watching!
And odds are, it was closer to Lawrence Welk than Star Trek.

Sheesh, these wealthy young consumerist whippersnappers with their TWO TV households!!!



:hippie:
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #11
45. There is plenty of anti-authoritarian snark by all ages in my neck of the woods.
Edited on Sat Aug-06-11 01:43 PM by Odin2005
People saying that us young people are brainless followers are simply wrong.

Most people hate cops, here, especially the extortion racket that call themselves "traffic cops".
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Mist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
7. Thanks for posting this. However, other than the heavy-duty drugs dispensed so freely these days,
what young people live with doesn't seem terribly different from how many of us grew up. Schools have generally been about creating worker/consumer bees, and my generation (baby boomers) had lots of exposure to tv. As far as questioning authority, many people learn to disregard it without making a big whoop about it. For some time now (20-25 years?) we've all become accustomed to a very non-responsive gov't (non-responsive to citizens, I mean, not to corporations and the mega-wealthy).
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. As far as drugs, acid and pot are better rebel drugs than prozac nt
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Let's not forget the Ritalinization of the last few decades, either
The educational system has been big on pushing the pills down the throats of kids who rebel.
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #17
26. So true, all of a sudden so many kids had ADD
and got drugged ..
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Mist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #13
50. I think of Big Pharma's drugs as being more heavy-duty than most street drugs. Should have
clarified that!
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
8. 
.
The truth is that schools dont really teach anything except how to obey orders."

Gatto said this during his acceptance of award for NYC Teacher of the Year, 1990--

"...I've noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my twenty-five years of teaching - that schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very hard, the institution is psychopathic - it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to different cell where he must memorize that man and monkeys derive from a common ancestor. ..."

http://www.beautifulislam.net/articles/why_schools_dont...

:patriot:

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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. Most of my union militancy came from high school(Circa 1969-73)
We were actually taught the history and about the benefits of being unionized when I was going through high school.

That must have changed along the way some where after I graduated?

Don
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. Safe to say that things have changed in 40 years in many places, as regards schools.
I'm class of 74, so pretty close in age to you. I'm in Northern Central California, where there's been a tremendous amount of change over the years and where teacher resources and school efficacy have been on the decline for ten years easily and some of the pedagogical decline for perhaps longer.

These days kids can graduate with a diploma by getting 55% of the answers correct on a High School Exit Exam written based on Seventh Grade standards.

We don't challenge our kids to do better, we don't arm our teachers to aim higher, we (far too often) just want to get through each day without a fight or suspension or lawsuit and have enough paper for the printer without having to spend our own money (again).

(I'm using 'we' liberally-- I'm no longer in the classroom)

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TomClash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 05:55 PM
Response to Original message
14. Excellent article K & R
:thumbsup: :hi:
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ThoughtCriminal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
18. One huge difference from Vietnam era protests.
The Draft.
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. Yeah, well, dying at 19 looms larger than does Medicare for a college student.
Edited on Fri Aug-05-11 08:08 PM by WinkyDink
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #18
40. That's the principal difference. Back then, if your number came up, you went.
Also, the protests nowadays are way too much like the menu from the Peking Garden--two from column A, three from column B, one from column C...too many issues, and not everyone protesting agrees with some of them. It's just a diluted exercise, even if you get a big crowd. Back in the dark ages, when people went to an antiwar protest, they were going to protest the war and NOTHING ELSE, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or starvation in Africa or the freeing of someone, that half the crowd hadn't even heard of, on death row.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #40
46. If ANSWER is organizing the protest one is better off not going because it will be a multi-issue...
...clusterfuck with every group and their dog pushing their pet issue, rather than a protest with a united message.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #46
55. Yes, and a large percentage of the population regard them as somewhat
"fringe-ish."

I don't think it's a good idea to share a stage with them, either, because they don't have a lot of crediblity with some segments.

When "The Silent Majority" of Nixon supporters got sick of the bodies coming home, even they got out and protested with the young kids at single-issue protests. That kind of stuff resonates.

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #55
56. Yup.
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loyalsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
19. Or maybe it's because greed is good?
Beginning in the 80s that has been the mantra. Self interest still rules the day. I think that they aren't willing to take risks.
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 08:10 PM
Response to Original message
23. Adults led the Youth Movement: the Chicago 7, e.g. Today's young have no leaders.
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. We had very strong leaders in their teens, we were all in it nt
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StarsInHerHair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 09:53 PM
Response to Reply #29
33. remember there WERE teens in WI, alongside everyone else
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. I love Wisconsin, it was the one thing that gave me hope, especially the young
but they grew up with elders who fought the good fight, or that influence was there in that city.
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StarsInHerHair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. see USUncut movement, inspired by UKUncut movement-against austerity cuts
there are now Uncut movements in most States, plus all across Canada. I think it's just the younger generations are coordinating via Social Media, on twitter, etc ALOT more, so you 'old timers' hehe should sign up & join in. FalseEconomy is a UK site but it's VERY good at tracking the fallout from all the austerity & insane cutting. I don't know if US has this yet.
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. I did connect with that group but not sure what they're doing
but yes there is action among the 20ish young people, the 30ish seem more apathetic
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Zax2me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
31. They did fight back recently - with votes for Obama
Spoke loud and clear.
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 10:46 PM
Response to Reply #31
38. Then only 1 in 10 voted in the midterms, they lack focus nt
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #38
59. Because we young voters were the ones most betrayed by Obama's backstabbing.
Many of us WORKED OUR ASSES OFF for Obama thinking he was the next FDR, and turns out we got HOOVER instead. Many don;t see the point in voting because, as my 27yo coworker says, they are all "crooks and vicious, mean people".
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StarsInHerHair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 09:50 PM
Response to Original message
32. yeah, I just saw on Consumerist site about drugging teens & elderly in institutions
..."8. Fundamentalist Religion and Fundamentalist Consumerism. American culture offers young Americans the choices of fundamentalist religion and fundamentalist consumerism. All varieties of fundamentalism narrow ones focus and inhibit critical thinking. While some progressives are fond of calling fundamentalist religion the opiate of the masses, they too often neglect the pacifying nature of Americas other major fundamentalism. Fundamentalist consumerism pacifies young Americans in a variety of ways. Fundamentalist consumerism destroys self-reliance, creating people who feel completely dependent on others and who are thus more likely to turn over decision-making power to authorities, the precise mind-set that the ruling elite loves to see. A fundamentalist consumer culture legitimizes advertising, propaganda, and all kinds of manipulations, including lies; and when a society gives legitimacy to lies and manipulativeness, it destroys the capacity of people to trust one another and form democratic movements. Fundamentalist consumerism also promotes self-absorption, which makes it difficult for the solidarity necessary for democratic movements. "...

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Juche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-05-11 09:54 PM
Response to Original message
34. no. 6 is true
Everything you say is pretty much traceable now. And employers can fire you for anything in right to work states. Not everyone wants all their opinions on message boards read by HR departments.

I think another issue is just despondency, you try to fight back but the system is so corrupted that it doesn't matter. Obama won due to the youth vote. People under 30 only made up about 18% of the electorate in 2008. But Obama won the popular vote by around 9 million, and 7 million of that margin was young people voting 2-1 for Obama. Had Obama not had the youth vote he probably wouldn't be president.

Obama has done some good things and is much better than McCain/Palin, but it is still disappointing.

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
44. #2 is BS. ODD is pre-sociopathic behavior in childhood, not typical rebellious child behavior.
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NICO9000 Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 03:19 PM
Response to Original message
51. They're amused and entertained to death these days
The fucking texting alone occupies 90 percent of their day from what I can see. The saddest part is that the young people are the ones who are really gonna bear the brunt of this shit. If I were a parent, I would advise my kid to marry a foreigner and get the hell out of here as fast as they can.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #51
54. And really really shallow...
I have a lot of young people (under 35) on my FaceBook page (relatives...friends of friends...children of friends...etc.)

It's really quite scary to see how truly shallow some of these kids are.

It's all about partying, partying, partying.

Posting stupid (and potentially incriminating) photos of themselves.

Half of them can't even write a coherent status update. OK...we're not talking about texting where brevity is absolutely crucial. And the spelling...it's atrocious!

The attention span of a slug...

So yes...I think most of it is cultural...

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #54
58. Right, and folks your age WEREN'T shallow when they were 20? Yeah RIIIIGHT.
All old folks think the rising generation is going to be the end of civilization.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #51
57. I'm sure old folks were saying that your generation were on the phone too much.
"The fucking texting alone occupies 90 percent of their day from what I can see."

Oh good lord. I'm 25 and all of my peers think that those who text so obsessively are fucked in that head. Most of us aren't like that.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-06-11 03:22 PM
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53. Recommended.
Very interesting OP. Thanks!
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