I think it’s the selfies that did it…
According to the Media:
An utter, confounding mystery—a fanciful generation who’s actions and intents lie shrouded by motivations beyond comprehension. But that’s OK. The Media’s happy to capitalize on what everyone else thinks, casting our generation’s title around like a slur, stereotyping every new study as novel evidence of society’s decline, looking down on us with smug pity from their ivory towers of privilege, thinking about the next hackneyed story they’ll run.
Or maybe the emojis…
To the Greatest Generation:
Ingrates and bums, lumped in with the rest of those lazy welfare queens asking for handouts and voting for Socialists like Obama and Sanders. Never mind that their daily pill boxes and weekly doctor’s appointments are filled and paid for by Medicare, their in-home care and rent courtesy of Social Security, the Geriatric Greats hate themselves some free loading hippies, and to them we’re just the latest permutation.
The hipsters certainly didn’t help…
To our parents, the Boomers:
Technology crazed junkies, souls disappearing into avatars, incessantly taking pictures and posting them to social media, noses in our phones as we grope along for our place in the world. But haven’t they too lost their souls, the original counter-culture revolutionaries who grew up listening to The Stones, Led Zepplin, and Neil Young–now drinking French wine, taking youth-prolonging pharmaceuticals, sporting fake tits and designer fashions manufactured in South East Asian factories by people so poor fire escapes and properly working doors weren’t worth installing; a generation who once burned bras, rioted on campus, and raged against Vietnam now cowards to stale ideas like trickle-down economics, free trade, and corporate welfare.
And then there’s YOLO…
Fools. Dumb, stupid, inexperienced, naïve idiots—don’t we get how great capitalism is? Don’t we know that it’s all about pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps as we pay 8% interest on student loans, use our college degrees to work as Baristas, and spend most of our income on rent, electricity, second-hand clothes, and cheap food? Don’t we see the promise of the free market as we choose Comcast or DirecTV, Sprint or Verizon, Apple or PC, Sports Talk or Conservative Radio, living in our parents’ basements or the tiny suburban studio apartment down the street—eating tuna-fish sandwiches on white bread and ramen noodles so we can afford the egregious rent–getting our news from MSNBC, FOX, or CNN, knowing that if we don’t like that we can hear it on NPR, where the news is exactly the same only there’s eclectic musical interludes and the hosts all have fucked up names? Don’t we see that with enough hard work and elbow grease we can achieve anything, working in spare cubicles as we watch CEO’s float away under $50 million golden parachutes and Wall St. stock brokers rolling Benjamins to sniff coke off of strippers’ asses as they celebrate hundred thousand dollar bonuses?
Perhaps I should put this in perspective. Consider just how badly Millennials have been singularly screwed by the rising cost of college and the horrific burden of student loans:
- Adjusting for inflation, a college degree at a private university costs Millennials three times what it cost a Baby Boomer, and attending a public school is nearly four times more expensive.
- To pay for college, most of us are forced to take out loans with 7% interest rates (or higher), while big banks, investors, and Wall Street can borrow money with little to no interest whatsoever.
- Republicans have repeatedly blocked efforts to allow borrowers to refinance those high interest rates.
- As a result, the average student owes $404 a month in student loans, and as a country, 40 millions Americans owe over $1.3 trillion dollars in student loan debt.
- Of course, that’s great if you’re a big bank or the federal government, who alone earns $41.3 billion off the backs of people with students loans.
- And we can’t get rid of any of our student loans via bankruptcy because of a bill Republicans passed in 2005.
Oh, and the idea that we should’ve just worked our way through college? Fucking nonsense now, given the expense of college relative to what part-time/summer jobs pay. At minimum wage, the average college student would have to work 27 hours all 52 weeks of the year–just to pay for tuition.
Hey, why not do the American thing and start a new business?
Great idea—except the fact that following the economic collapse in 2008, banks aren’t generally willing to lend to people without collateral, like a house (which for most of us is a pipe dream), and especially not if they already have a significant debt burden (like, oh, I don’t know, student loans). Even then, those borrowers who do qualify pay high interest rates for the same reasons above.
So if college is so expensive, don’t go.
Right, but those of us who’ve gone that route enter an economy where the difference between the salary of a high school vs. college grad has never been higher. The average Millennial with a college degree earns $17,500 more per year than those with only a high school diploma—and that’s if they can find a job. 12% of high school grads are unemployed, compared to only 4% of those with a Bachelor’s degree.
In other words, Millennials have been utterly screwed economically. If we went to college, chances are we’ve got student debt, consuming a significant portion of the crappy salaries we receive working corporate, soul-crushing jobs that offer little vacation, or crappy white collar retail gigs that we could have gotten without the college degrees our parents and teacher pushed on us. And if we didn’t–well–we’re paying for it in lost opportunity, low wages, and high unemployment.
So our present’s shitty, and the outlook for our future? Not good.
You see, our problems–the problems that our generation faces: climate change, economic inequality, the ever escalating cost of higher education–are problems that can only be solved politically, and yet our government is paralyzed.
On one hand, the Democratic Party seems mostly content to trumpet accomplishments on social issues, cowering away from the underlying economic troubles of our time in the name of winning over independent voters. And Republicans? HA! They don’t even have their pants on. The GOP is an utter and complete embarrassment of assholery; a party of hypocrites, liars, and conmen; a party that deliberately sabotages anything government could do to help ordinary people–like us.
So what does it feel like to be a Millennial? We’re drowning in student debt, still going to college accruing it, or stuck with a high school diploma (because, you know, college is expensive) and whatever lousy paying job that’ll get us. Most of us are too poor or financially unstable to get married or have children—hell, most of us are too poor to own a goddamn dog. And while living our dog-less, rather depressing existence, we’re constantly attacked. We’re told we’re entitled and selfish. That we should stop complaining about how things aren’t fair and shut up about it. That somehow, even though we have no power and no wealth, it’s our fault. If only we’d been smarter, harder working, less idealistic. And, as our Baby Boomer parents exit the door on yet another European vacation, they ask why in the God’s name we’re voting for that Socialist, Bernie Sanders.
Don’t we know that he’s a Socialist?
Honestly, it’s not surprising we’re being attacked for supporting Bernie. We’re attacked for everything else—why not that too? Why not be attacked for supporting—no matter what you may think of his policies—the only person running for President who can say he’s not corrupt and actually mean it? Why not support the guy who just openly says what every honest and halfway intelligent American thought after Citizen’s United and watching the boorish behavior of the Republican Party in the last 10 years—WTF (What. The. Fuck.)? WTF, Bernie Sanders asks… and after all the shit we’ve taken for being born into a world handcrafted by a collusion of the rich, by the powerful, for the privileged, a world literally being destroyed so that rich people can make even more money—frankly—we’d like to know too.
Because the fact is, we aren’t just a bunch of entitled, free-loading shitheads. We aren’t just the next generation of shiftless youth. And we aren’t stupid. Nor are we racists, sexists, homophobes, or bigots.
We’re the fucking future. And we’re very pissed off.
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