Becoming Generation WHY

By Web Master

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Every generation faces new and unique challenges, crises and wars that could potentially affect the entire world.

A new generation of children born in the late-80s and the early-90s is beginning to send its first representatives into the world.

But are we ready? And who are we?  

A recent article by New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman has labeled us as “Generation Q” because we are “quiet Americans … quietly pursuing (our) idealism, at home and abroad.”  

Corporate media isn’t reporting the modicum of student activism, so students really don’t know that the movement has already started. However, maybe there is some truth to Friedman’s argument.

Others call us “Generation Y.”  Most sociologists say Generation Y is the largest generation since the baby-boomers.  Keep in mind that the baby-boomers’ first representatives became the most active generation of students in opposition to war, sexism, racism, poverty, homophobia and pollution.

Now it’s our turn to step up to the plate.

The government in power, which includes both Democrats and Republicans, has been the greediest government imaginable.

Our generation will have to pay the national debt that those in office have made worse.

Our generation will have to suffer the environmental damage they have accumulated.

Our generation will have to continue to fight their unending wars.

This is a crisis — one that past generations have minimally diverted.

We may not be so lucky.

Our enemies are capitalism, war and imperialism, racism, sexism, pollution and environmental destruction, the government and the state, corporations, nationalism, homophobia and the inhumanity of humanity.

These are all pieces of the same puzzle that needs to be solved for a lasting peace and prosperity for all. If all of this sounds crazy or too idealistic, then the establishment’s control of society and the education system has worked — you’ve been brainwashed.  

Let’s take a look at some numbers:  Our national debt is roughly $9 trillion. If we add unfunded promises like Social Security, it’s nearly $59 trillion, according to a USA Today article.

Political historian and author Chalmers Johnson claims the U.S. military budget is at least $1.1 trillion when all funds involving all departments of the military are tallied.

The deaths of U.S. troops will reach 4,000 very soon.

Bush and his top aides made “false statements” 935 times leading up to the Iraq War, according to the Center for Public Integrity and its affiliated group, the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

The latest study by the British polling group Opinion Research Business claims 1.12 million Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S. invasion. Some recent studies calculate a smaller number somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000. Regardless, all of these numbers are simply outrageous!  

According to a Los Angeles Times article, in the last month, the U.S. has dropped about 100,000 pounds of bombs on Iraq. There is no end in sight to this madness.

Nations torn apart by war and unsustainable economies aren’t democratic, aren’t secure, aren’t peaceful to their neighbors.

So what can we — Generation Q or Generation Y — do?  

Let’s pledge  to become Generation WHY — from now on we will question everything, which will hopefully allow us to find a true democracy — a participatory democracy with a participatory economy.   

We’ll ask, why fight Bush’s wars? Why do we have an American Empire that has military bases in over 130 countries? Why is there no universal health care system here? Why is our tuition going up when all education should be free? We’ll question why the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer.

These questions will start the beginning of a long journey and we don’t have all of the answers now, though ignoring our problems is the worst thing to do.

We have the power to harness a mass movement and break free from this tyranny.

Here is a lesson they don’t teach in school: Democracy takes place on the streets — not in the White House.  

Democracy is not vested in Congress either, but rather in the people they fail to represent.

The political farce of the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries is a pandemic.

All mainstream candidates support the continual occupation of Iraq in some way, which means they all support the war indefinitely. Once again, the movement has already started. The foundation for a new democratic nation exists in activism.  

The times are changing. Join social and political student organizations, participate in protests.

Every third Friday of every month there is the Iraq Moratorium, a nation-wide protest against the war.

What we need, as Lincoln once said, is  government of the people, by the people, for the people.

If we don’t wake up now, it might be too late.  

To end on a quasi-good note, several years ago, a seventh-grader asked me, “What is the opposite of progress?”

I was puzzled, so I shrugged my shoulders and waited for the punch line.

He exclaimed, “Congress!”

I replied, “I know you didn’t learn that in school,” and thought that there may be hope for the next generation, after all.

But if we do nothing now, they will be facing an impossible task. Whether we like it or not, we have the responsibility to make the world a better place.