I’m not a baby boomer—my young parents were part of that generation. I’ve never found a niche in Gen X, although I supposed technically that is my generation. I’ve been intrigued by my contemporaries who dropped out, but way too responsible to try it myself. The pursuit of the almightily dollar has been a hollow one for me. I have felt out of sync most of my life. I felt old when I was young and now that I’m older, I feel young. I’ve been frugal in the midst of excess and excessive when scarcity was the rule of the day. I’ve been a liberal almost washed away by a tsunami of conservatives. I’ve been outspoken when most have remained silent and sadly silent while those around me have banged their gong of ignorance. I’ve searched most of my life for my place. I was probably the most content during the Clinton years when I falsely believed we as a Nation had turned a corner. Then came W. And with W came an uprising of thought that just about turned my mind inside out. I stumbled around for eight long years looking for something to make me feel better.
If you’ve read any of my writing, you know that I went temporarily insane last year. The insanity began around the time of Obama’s race speech. This speech enticed me into drinking the heroin known as blue kool-aid. It’s true what they say. Try it once and you’re hooked. And so I was. All through the summer, I was high on NPR, MSNBC, and the NY Times. I drank at the fountain of Keith Olberman, sometimes more than once a day.
I decided to detox over Labor Day weekend while on my family’s annual trip to the lake, but the damned Republicans would have none of it. They went and nominated Sarah Palin the very Friday I was to enter rehab. I secretly snuck into my family’s cabin every chance I got for a hit off the TV. It was never enough. I longed for the drive home so I could listen to the radio for two hours straight. It was a downward spiral I knew could only be cured by election day. Funny thing was … Election Day didn’t really help much. Maybe it was the Inauguration I needed. Nope … that was not the cure either.
Here was my problem. The Clinton years were haunting me. Just when I felt some joy about Obama’s election, some hope about the future, some pride in what we had all accomplished, a voice whispered in my head, “at most, you have eight years.” Oh, what buzz kill it is when your voices refuse to come along for the ride.
Then something remarkable happened at church over this last weekend. No, God did not speak to me. I’ve apparently offended Him somehow and He has not been on speaking terms with me since, well, ever. Nope, our communications are strictly one way and if I am to be truthful, I suspect most of the time my calls get dropped. It happens. Anyway, I’m sitting in my usual spot this weekend enjoying the sermon entitled “Outrageous Grace.” Grace happens to be a concept I’m all about, so I was very interested in what my beloved minister and dear friend had to say on the topic. And just when I thought my minister was about to wrap up the sermon, he did something outrageous. Certainly very outrageous for Stepford. He pushed the bounds of conservatism just a tick past the progressive mark (Okay, okay, liberal.) And he had the nerve to do it while standing right there in the pulpit. It was all I could do not to jump up and shout “Amen Brother!” or “Hallelujah, Thank ya Jeeesus!” Lord, if only I had had a tambourine! My minister, God love him, showed my congregation a video of the Gen We Declaration. And I was captivated. And momentarily convinced I was born twenty-five years too late. That explains a lot.
You don’t know Gen We? You better get acquainted. They are coming, they are organized, and they are unlike any generation we have ever seen. Members of Gen We were born between the years of 1980 and 2000. I could outline their Declaration, but I don’t posses the writing skills to do it justice. You should read it for yourself at gen-we.org . Familiarize yourself with it, get comfortable with it, and accept it.
Gen We will soon be the largest voting demographic in our nation. They will achieve this milestone … wait for it, wait for it, in 2016. (I can almost hear the Hallelujah chorus.) In ten years, Gen We will make up 50 percent of the workforce. They are smarter, better educated, less partisan, less religiously dogmatic. They are globally focused, racially mixed, and environmentally responsible. They are technologically brilliant and righteously angry about the state of the world. Oh, and they are determined to take it on. And I, for the life of me, cannot see anything on the horizon of the Republican party that will appeal to them. Suddenly those annoying little buzz-killing voices don’t have so much to say. And guess what? I’m the proud mother of not one, but two members of Gen We.
Perhaps my place has been in Gen X all along. After all, its Gen X that gave birth to Gen We. And I could not be prouder of the generation I see coming. And I not only intend to cheer them on, but join them to fight for, repair, and heal our world. I love the line in the movie the Shawshank Redemption where Morgan Freeman’s character says, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” Gen We is about to get busy living and I’m going to be right there with them.