Optimism. In an effort to answer a different question, I found myself mapping out the significant news headlines for the last 40 years, and suddenly I understood something.
The 1960s were a decade of activism, international crisis, assasination, racial tension, and political scandal.
The 1970s were a decade of international crisis, massacre, racial tension, and political scandal.
The 1980s were a decade of international crisis, assasination, racial tension, and political scandal.
The 1990s were a decade of international crisis, massacre, racial tension, and political scandal.
I’m 26, part of a generation that’s notorious for being cynical. I wasn’t around in the 60s; the oldest of my peer group watched helplessly; unable to do anything about it or even understand what was happening in a lot of cases. The first of my peer group started turning 20 in the 80s. It wasn’t until the 90s that we were really old enough to have any real power, to make any real change. Few of us showed any interest, and some people wondered why.
I’d never really thought about it before, but we can look back at the last 40 years, see people trying to make changes, and note that for all the rhetoric that was being thrown around in the 60s, if anything, things are worse today than they were in the post-war era.
So that’s why we’re cynical and apathetic. Although, after this week, apparently an awful lot of us are going down to the recruiting office and asking if we can sign up to go kick some butt…