Precious Snowflakes in the winter of their discontent.
There they were, poised to be part of the change we can all believe in; to carry on the work of Abraham, Maritn and John. Just like mom, and dad, and ……… Hillary. Free the slaves, desegregate the schools, end Jim Crow, ...... put a woman in the White House. What happened? What has become, they ask, of their hope, of their future?
It was a long, long time in the making, this generation of change. For a dozen or more years, most of their existence really, they have been told the twin tales. Important tales. That they need that degree -for a job, a future, for the money it will bring; and the social validation. That other tale? The victim’s story; the tale of innate disempowerment, of innate helplessness. The story of 1 in 5 women; of Fraternites as centers of racism and sexual assault. The tale well documented in last year’s Rolling Stone article, the one the President of the University of Virginia used to set policy.
What else is so prevalent in this college generation? Along with that feeling of teenage angst there is also, when young, whether in college or not, that deep, deep seated emotional need to belong, to be accepted. Such need will drive a man or woman – to fraternities, to sororities, to… social activism. We've sure seen a great deal of the latter this past year.
This election cycle the woman of the movement, the mothers of the movement, the blogs – Jezebel, Huffpost, the magazines - Glamour, Slate, and as always, the celebrities - Katy Perry, Beyonce, Madonna, and on and on; one and all – most of the main stream media too - told the young of the Republic that the inevitable was at hand. They all roared out: Demographics are destiny! For they knew black lives matter, immigrant lives matter, refugee lives matter, climate change is settled and …… then the election. And now the aftermath: no woman in the White House, no free college, no degree, no …. value. The racist, sexist, misogynist, - the Hitler(!) is coming and last of all many will remain …. Blue Collar!
Well, since celebrity is so important let’s let Hollywood explain it:
Old stories are often the best stories, aren’t they? They tell a tale worth telling - the tale of the human condition. It sure caught the feel of NYC in 1950. That vignette catches the mood of this generation too. Yep “YOU were supposed to look out for me.”…… " So much for self-reliance and individual responsibility. Can't have that now, so the colleges say. Well, anyhow, now you know how they feel. Their entire lives stretch out before them. An “undiscovered country” as the Bard put it; yet they feel helpless, as if their lives are over. Truly this is the winter of their discontent.
They were told they were gonna fight the great injustices – censorship, Jim Crow, segregated schools. How did it come to this? Why are America’s “best and brightest”, the Lake Woebegone generation, so traumatized? Why is there a retreat to “safe spaces”, “cry ins”, coloring books and even diaper pins as political statements? Why the common thread of victimhood as the result of a constitutional election in which a candidate they supported lost? How did it come to this indeed. Well those facts, positions, and even the “settled science” resonated differently with different Americans, didn’t they? Thus the results of that day of voting.
Which brings me to a few questions about the state of mind of (some) college students today. In an effort to avoid being overly polemic I’ll try to have some objectivity though my patience with a highly intelligent – and overly indulged – generation has worn rather thin. I believe their parents should have told them long ago that it is time to grow up and take personal responsibility for their futures.
After a dozen years of public education (for most students) why do they not understand that the legal barriers to school segregation were swept away long ago? Why is the basic governmental structure establishing this federal republic and the reason for the electoral college rather than a national plebiscite unknown? Just what have our tax dollars been spent on in the education industry if entrants to American colleges do not know that it is not the 1950s in America and even gay marriage is now legal? How can students today not know that “(who) let the dogs out” is a rap song they first heard at their mothers knee and not a command to the police from a Governor at the school house door? It's 2017 and no one is blocking the school house door or denying free speech on campus:
Gays are welcome everywhere on college campuses: Gay pride on campus
Segregation was swept away long ago: Segregation today
Ah, well. They sure know whose doing that, don't they? What many here lived through as it played out in the sixties is being played out again. The social engineers on campus have returned with vengeance to create the brave new world where the the founding faults of the Republic are corrected. Those who so disregard the national narrative, the aspiration society of old, use their prowess and skills with the manipulation of language and history to designate people by their “ascribed status,” i.e. what a person was born into, rather than the “achieved status” – what a person earns as an individual. Which color matters most, which group is most victimized, which victim status grants the most ascribed status and the benefits that go with it, for to be a victim is to be valuable. As Kierkegaard put it "To label me is to negate me." You can see how those with a deep emotional need to belong can be so persuaded, especially when they are told they are going to fight the great injustices. Black Lives Matter. What about the rest of the colors none dare ask. (Just remember Bernie and BLM at his speech.)
The other tactics of the public fight- protests and agitation: It hasn't worked so well in Ferguson or where the Ferguson effect spread, like Dallas. And then there's the Mau Mauing as Tom Wolfe called it. That sure worked then; it worked enough now to get DeRay Mckesson a couple hundred grand gig in Baltimore. (I'm sure he knows exactly how to run a school system. Can't be much worse than those who are running in now, can it?) How'd that trial work out though?: not so well.
That method of manipulation? Emphasizing birth status, or "privilege"; dividing citizens up into competing ethnic, racial, and gender groups by recounting the age old grievances. All these are very "old world” methods and very anti-American. It's the "sizzle that sells the steak" as the old salesman Zig Ziglar used to put it. Only in this case "Where's the beef"? Well there were plenty of people with a beef before (see above) and after this election even more. Here's one of the early snowflake tales from immediately afterwards, relayed on social media by my newly elected State Representative. Let me quote him:
"Please read the following Crime Alert. This is unacceptable. Not in Ann Arbor, not anywhere, not ever. We must stand united against hate. I am currently building a coalition of elected officials who will fight to make our community a safe space from the devastating racism, sexism and xenophobia that Trump has empowered."
Note the follow up from another constituent indicating the police concluded this was incident did not actually occur. Well, don't take my word for it, here's the MSM:
"... after Ann Arbor and UM police and the FBI interviewed multiple witnesses and reviewed video surveillance in the area of the alleged incident, said Detective Sgt. Matthew Lige of the Ann Arbor Police Department.
“This crime never happened,” Lige said. “It put the Ann Arbor community under significant pressure and put us in the national spotlight and it just did not happen. I have been doing this job for over 20 years and I have not seen a national or a law enforcement-related event that put as much as pressure on us as this report did given the timing that it was reported after the election.”...."
It turns out it was a hate hoax. Well my new State Rep is not off to such a good start, but he's in large company since this wasn't the only hate hoax to play out around our nations colleges these past few months.
Sizzle sells, just like Zig said. Bad beef doesn’t though. Two points which should help explain part of the election results. Now what of the lives (and futures) of other students, the "silent majority" of students? What of the engineers, the medical students, the accountants? We're sure not hearing much in the press about them. Of course not. Those students are not the ones who staff the legislative offices or enter the hallowed halls of journalism. Though I hear there are plenty of jobs open for them:
Poli-sci major jobs, well, not so much. Even the Clinton Global Initiative is letting those people go. In conclusion let us return to Hollywood and ask for some hope and change entertainment. Maybe they can do a nice movie about a fat 30 something guy doing a job he loves while living at home with mom and meeting the person of his dreams. I'm sure it will win at Cannes.
postscript. Oh snap!:
Well then maybe we can at least have some women who can give us a song: