Nobody ever talks about generational conflict. Who wants to bring up that the old are eating the young at the dinner table? How are you going to mention that to your boss? If you’re a politician, how are you going to tell your donors? Even the Occupy Wall Street crowd, while rejecting the modes and rhetoric and institutional support of Boomer progressives, shied away from articulating the fundamental distinction that fills their spaces with crowds: young against old.
This month’s Esquire features a fairly disheartening piece by Stephen Marche on the other war going on right now — THE GENERATIONAL WAR. Marche does a really good job of articulating how screwed we all are:
The situation is obviously unsustainable: At the exact moment when the United States and all other Western countries are trying to deal with aging populations, they are failing to capture the energy and potential of the people who will have to work to support those aging populations.
But then he turns it around, and it becomes this sort of rally cry for how screwed, actually, the Old People are going to be once we’ve had enough (and we’ve very nearly had enough):
Get ready for the summer. It’s going to be hot. The protesters, the occupiers, the kids who screamed themselves hoarse in the parks of New York and Oakland last year have spent the winter nestled underground nurturing their strategies. Has there ever been a movement so full of people who don’t want to be there, who would rather be working?
Isn’t it exciting! It’s like a movie premise! WHAT WILL HAPPEN!? Except it’s also scary and what is going to happen is maybe a lot of not great things, like violence and people getting hurt and arrested. But maybe some good things also, ultimately, we hope.
Photo Credit: flickr/opencontent