This is part of a series of posts discussing issues that define the millennial generation. These posts will cover culture, politics, and religion.
I have decided to make this my last post about the millennial generation. During this series I have posted on culture, religions, and politics. My intention was to reflect on certain aspects of the millennial identity. More importantly, I wanted to find an identity for millennials. The sad truth is, at the end of the day, I did not find one.
It is impossible to put a generation in a box. Decades of events cannot be summed up one single blog post. Furthermore, no single event of cultural happening can define an entire generation. Sure, I have written posts that call certain things the “millennial this” or “millennial that” but that is only as a starting point. To conclude this series, I want to describe the millennial generation in a few words that define their politics and crossover with its culture. Politics and culture certainly overlap and this will be a way to connect some of these posts together.
Millennials are contradictory: I was looking at some of the polls on millennial views on politics and it was quite confusing. It seems that millennials like smaller government yet they want the government to do more to promote equality. Take these two graphs:
Here, millennials want smaller government. Yet in the graph below they want more economic stimulus
Here they want the government to do more on healthcare:
Wow, that is confusing. It turns out that millennials cannot offer a coherent philosophy on what they want the government to do. But really, can most Americans? Certain conservatives want the government to be smaller in general, but want it to do more on social sphere and less in the economic. Liberals might claim bigger government on economic policy but to “stay out of the bedroom” on social issues. That leads me to the next topic.
Millennials like individual things: I wrote a post on “Family Guy” describing it as the millennial show because it has a post-modern take on reality as one joke after another that distracted from the plot. This not only shows the short attention span of millennials, and regular television viewers, but it also shows how millennials like to take things issue by issue. Nick Gillespie, a libertarian, at the Daily Beast summarized it best:
Today’s younger voters—who have grown up in a wild, wired world in which the click of a mouse brings forth endless options in entertainment, commerce, and identity—naturally imbibe an essentially libertarian ethos that privileges individual choice over top-down control.
It can be said that millennials want to be left alone to make their own decisions. For both political parties, this could have consequences later.
Millennials are thoughtful: It should be noted that the millennial generation has access to more information than its parents generation ever did. While the internet is filled with good information, it is also filled with conspiracy blogs and funny cat videos. Just by having the information does not make the millennial generation smarter, but it could make them better at sorting through it and having a willingness about being open to new experiences. This probably produces a more liberally minded culture that may not be more accepting per say at least accepting enough to have the conversation: see Pope Francis post.
Millennials will re-invent the world: Millennials have experienced a lot in the last twenty years: 9/11, the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, election of the first African American president, a recession, and the iPhones. How millennials will process all these events to make a new framework for solving problems will be up to them. What do I predict millennials will be like in the future? I would say frugal, intellectually honest, calculating, and tech-savvy.
Will the millennials be called the next “Greatest Generation” or the “Laziest Generation?” That’s impossible to tell now. All I can say is I can’t wait to find out!
Let me know what you think. What do you think the millennial generation will do with the future?