I usually roll my eyes when a member of “The Greatest Generation” starts a sentence with, “Back in my day…”. I think that their day has passed and now it’s mine, my day. But in my day, right now, I see us as many older folks do, the first generation in American history where my day wasn’t as good as theirs. That scares me, and it should scare you too.
My first example comes from my own high school. It was September 11, 2006, the five year anniversary of 9-11. I was in a somber mood, not overly dwelling on it, but aware of the event. But to my shock many students, even one teacher were surprised to learn that the day was 9-11. They would kind of say “Oh…it is” in an “Oh well” kind of way and continue with their day. Now I have a question. Do you think that on December 7, 1946 students failed to realize the importance of that day? I highly doubt it.
These same people could rattle off lyrics to songs, birthdays of movie stars, and the anniversary of the Ipod, but can’t realize that 9-11 kind of means something. And that, I believe is our problem. This is why we are losing a major aspect of the war on terror, the youth factor. While radical Islamists are indoctrinating their kids to be the next generation of terrorists, we are teaching our kids to be the next generation of pot heads. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t watch MTV or watch movies. I’m just saying that when we get to the point where our young people can’t name the Vice President or recognize George Washington over Ronald McDonald, that something is wrong.
I don’t know what to do about that. It is kind of hard to force teens to watch the news, much less care about it. I have seen my fellow teens say the most outlandish things, and it’s because they are not educated about current events. That is why you see the 9-11 truth movement or major support from youth towards a candidate for President who has served a grand total of three years in the U.S. Senate.
But beyond all of that, I take real offence to the label so often put on my generation, “the Ipod generation”; a generation where our attention span is about ten seconds. We live in the moment in stead of thinking about the consequences ten years down the road. That is why people can say with a strait face that withdrawing from Iraq is in some way a good thing or acceptable. They don’t realize the consequences.
I look at my generation and see, at points, a generation of filth and waste, and where does our waste go-in the toilet-and that is where we’ll end up if we don’t get educated and learn about what America is all about. I find myself responding to a teen or younger people who have no idea what they’re talking about and I feel hopeless. I just have to shake my head and say “They just don’t understand.” And again I feel scared. Although I know they will understand eventually, but then it will be too late. I am afraid they will be shocked into reality by a mushroom cloud rising above an American city. That is my greatest fear; that our selfish complacency will lead to an America that is not just knocked down by a terrorist attack, but knocked completely out.