I am sorry. Truly, I am. I am sorry that I am one of the ones who kinda makes fun of you, with your nose stuck in your phone, sipping your lattes and getting foam in your bro beards. I roll my eyes at what you consider vintage as I pull out my I-wore-it-first sweaters. I laugh at your idea of artisanal and your farm to table. Artisanal, I scoff, hell, I’ve been making my own bread/vinegar/something-in-a-Ball-jar since before you were a sparkle in your daddy’s eye. Back in my day we didn’t call it artisanal. We just called it bread/vinegar/something-in-a-Ball-jar. Farm to table? My grandmother wrung a chicken’s neck, plucked that bird and fried it up by lunchtime just because she was having pregnancy cravings.
You guys and your anxiety attacks and your social media obsession. What do you know about human rights? We lived during the AIDS pandemic. What do you know about civil rights? We marched with MLK, or at least cheered him from the safety of our television sets. What do you know about women’s rights and the battles that women like Gloria Steinem faced? After all, we baby boomers were the ones who wore our pussy ties with our pinstriped dress suits in the 80s, believing that if we looked a little bit more like men, we might be treated a little bit more like men. You girls have it easy, we gripe. What do you know, we grumble. You’re still wet behind the ears.
I’m sorry. Dear Millennials, I’m sorry. The way I’ve treated you has shown disrespect. The way my baby boomer generation and the Gen X bunch behind me have treated you shows disregard. Like the old farts we are, we tut tutted and there thered and continued our path, believing with all of our hearts that our generation had brought about all the change that could possibly be needed. You sweet little dears just stay on the path we set for you and things will be just fine. I mean, look at us. Your nice black president is our generation. See? We’ve got this.
You wanted the old Jewish guy for president; we wanted the woman. We knew what was best, right? This woman is the best-qualified human being to ever run for office. NOBODY has her skill set or her experience. You millennials said, “But we want change!”
We patted you on the head and said, “Remember, we got a black president and he was change and now we’re going to have a woman president. What more change can you possibly want?”
What we didn’t see, we liberal baby boomer and gen exers, was that an entire segment of the country, a YUGE as our president-elect would say, section of the country also said they wanted change. The secret is that they DIDN’T. They wanted things to go back. None of us could figure out back to when. “Make America Great Again!” they clamored. We thought it was pretty great right now. After all love is love is love and hey, we got a black prez. But they called it change and you called for change, but even though the changes weren’t the same thing, the call for change became a deafening roar and we who had watched MLK march and MLK die, we who had worn our itchy pin-striped wool suits, we who had “coexist” stickers on our car, didn’t heed the call for change and we missed it.
Just like running up to the door of the bank, right as it closes, deposits in hand, begging the guard to open the door for just one minute; just like missing the bus as it pulls away from you; just like knowing people wanted change and believing what you were offering was the change they wanted, we missed it. Because we missed it, we’re leaving you in a mess. God, what a mess.
Climate change is real. You know that. In 2000, when Al Gore was running for president, he knew that. It’s irrefutable. Louisiana is losing a football field’s worth of land an hour. People chose to ignore Mr. Gore’s warnings and chose to vote for a warmonger instead. You know how that ended. Economy tanked. Climate screwed. Middle East an even bigger mess. Dick Cheney richer. Did I mention climate screwed?
So, we’re leaving you with a baking earth that will continue to devolve as the climate change deniers continue to play with this particular political football. You’re welcome.
We’re also leaving you with a country divided by hate. Racism exists. We knew it, but we kept telling ourselves, Hey, we voted in a black president and I mean wow, look at the power Oprah has. We thought that made racism go away. Black people were getting shot like fish in a barrel, but we convinced ourselves that was because they were probably doing something wrong. Our country is too evolved to be racist.
Your president-elect is endorsed by the KKK.
The divide of hatred isn’t only racist. The hate divide includes religions that aren’t evangelical, marriages that aren’t man and woman, Americans who aren’t American. We really owe you an apology for that one. Anybody who isn’t Native American is an immigrant. Yet immigrants are bad. Yet Native Americans are getting blown out of their land as we speak. It’s like an M.C. Escher drawing.
We’re leaving you with a world of sexism where a girl can be raped by a college swimmer and he won’t really be punished because he has quite the future ahead of him. We’re leaving you with a leader who believes – not only that he can SAY he grabs women by the pussy – but that he DOES grab them by the pussy. That he can call a woman Miss Piggy. Give her physical attributes a number. We’re leaving you a world where it is more important to have a president who hates women than it is to have a woman president.
I am so, so sorry.
Dear Milliennials, you are right to rage about us. You are right to stick your nose in your phone and snapchat your anger that the system has let you down. WE have let you down. In believing that we knew what we were doing, in trusting that truth would rise to the top as Aristotle had claimed, in believing in the basic good nature of human beings, we showed our weakness and our flaws. We were wrong.
Oh Lord, were we wrong. And now we’ve left you a mess. I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say. We’ll help you clean it up, but who knows how big this mess will be. Who knows what four years of a demagogue with his right wing, climate-denying, LGBTQ-hating, bigoted, racist, sexist, gun-toting, war-mongering, narcissistic toadies will do.
I’m sorry. I’ll post a picture of my dog in hopes that it helps a little bit.