Many of us have parents who grew up in the late 60s. They did hallucinogenic drugs, they had casual sex, they abandoned underwear and, most importantly, the stood up for what they believed in. They stood up and made their voices heard. Whether they were saying "Get our troops out of Vietnam!" or "get these face eating spiders off my head!" they were saying something.
And as we become a powerful voting force many of our aging liberal parents are disappointed in us. They feel we are not doing enough to ensure that their grandchildren will have safe and healthy futures. They guilt us with their tales of former political activism, "Sit down here, son. Now listen to me, I was in Chicago in '68 and I was in Washington in '69" what have you done?" Well Dad, not much. I argue with young republicans and secretly curse senior citizens but I can't say that I take to the streets and really voice my outrage.
And don't think it's not for any lack of anger. Every time I see Bush and his smugness on TV I feel a well of hate overflow in my heart. The fact that this man has started a war that has killed thousands of Americans and Iraqis and sent our loved ones into harm's way so his buddies could get some more oil makes me cringe. It honestly makes me embarrassed to be an American. And don't go pulling that "if you don't like it here then leave" shit either; part of being an American is having the right to disagree, hate and be ashamed of your leader and your country. Whoa, got a little angry there" sorry.
You would think that I would apply all this anger to making a positive change, but I don't. And, to all the aging liberals out there who stuck flowers in guns and went weeks without bathing to protest Vietnam, let me take this chance to explain the general political apathy of my generation.
In the 60s, it was a lot easier to stay focused on things. Young people back then could do three things with their time: listen to records, watch horrible television or protest. But now the choices are endless. On the day of the big New York City protest I could have done any of these things to pass the time: watching any of 600 channels on TV, playing endlessly on the internet, sitting in front of the X-Box all afternoon, downloading porn to my cellphone, playing with my digital camera, downloading free music, watching DVDs, eating microwaveable snacks, and shopping on my computer for clothing. OR I could have taken a train to Manhattan and stood in the sun for hours holding a sign above my head. As you can see, it is much easier to stay home these days. The amount of electronic entertainment at my fingertips is amazing and certainly takes young people's minds off holding a placard in the air for seven hours.
Another reason kids don't protest much anymore is due to lack of motivation. In the 60s there were great bands all writing songs about unjust war and social outrage. This music made you angry and made you want to stand up and scream at the authorities. You had Creedence Clearwater Revival telling you that you "aint no fortunate son" over heavy guitar. Now, we have The Black Eyed Peas asking "where is the love?" while three guys no one cares about and one hot girl dance around. See what I mean? It's hard to get steamed up about war and politics when our most poignant celebrity political figure is Drew Barrymore.
Not to mention that protests these days are marred by groups that politicians don't really like to associate with. Because Bush has managed to piss off just about everyone, protests draw all kinds of freaks and misfits. As relatively normal young people, we have trouble standing up next to "Wiccans for Supernatural Justice" and "The American Association of Career Criminals for Easier Picked Locks." We feel that, when surrounded by grungy old hippies and black-make-up-wearing Goths, the politicians aren't necessarily going to listen. "Hello? Hey Dick, it's President Bush. Listen, I think we need to do something about our stance on gay rights immediately. Why? Well, there are 200 greased up gay men in leather thongs out on the streets saying that gay marriage should be legal. I think we'd better listen to them, they really present a good point." I don't think so. I don't know if my ideas about how a country should be run fall in line with those of "The Wisconsin Chapter of Women Against Bathing" or "Nature Lovers for an Electricity-Free America." See what I mean?
So, Mom, Dad and all the other aging liberals out there, don't be mad at us. It's really hard for us to get out and take a stand these days. Other than the fact that if you say bad things about the president you can be thrown in jail without trial, we have too many choices for distraction, we have no good protest anthems and everyone at the protest seems to be talking about which UFO they were abducted by. I wish I had your drive, your anger, your passion and your courage, but I have digital cable and the internet" sorry.