Generation Badass

Today I watched and listened to March for our LIves. I don’t live in the USA. Most people in the world don’t. What’s interesting is that while most people in the USA don’t know about major issues in other countries in the world, most people, with access to international news, in other countries know what the major issues are in the  USA.  That’s good and bad.  Today it was good.

The USA hasn’t been looking great lately to most of us. The general consensus is that it’s an arrogant nation that, under the guise of spreading ‘democracy’ is eager to exploit the resources of other countries. It’s a privileged country with great wealth that’s obsessed with guns, blind to government corruption and addicted to celebrity and prescription drugs.

It’s a country that appears to put wealth, power and entitlement above its claimed precepts  of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s a country with so much potential. Like a petulant child, the world has tolerated its poor behaviour  for decades because it’s potential was great. And just when we thought all was lost, here come Generation Badass.

Let me just say, Generation Badass didn’t come from nowhere. These are the children birthed and reared by my generation, known as Generation X (AKA the MTV Generation).  This is what the internet bible of Wikipedia says about us :

Members of Generation X were children during a time of shifting societal values and as children were sometimes called the “latchkey generation”, due to reduced adult supervision as children compared to previous generations, a result of increasing divorce rates and increased maternal participation in the workforce, prior to widespread availability of childcare options outside the home. As adolescents and young adults, they were dubbed the “MTV Generation” (a reference to the music video channel of the same name). In the 1990s they were sometimes characterized as slackerscynical and disaffected. Some of the cultural influences on Gen X youth were the musical genres of grunge and hip hop music, and indie films. In midlife, research describes them as active, happy, and achieving a work–life balance. The cohort has been credited with entrepreneurial tendencies.

An archetypal latch-key kid, I tick most of the boxes and I think most of my peers would say the same thing. Kids notoriously rebel against their parents, so I suppose it’s no surprise that cynical, disaffected, slacker parents have produced optimistic, hopeful and active children. They are supposed be called Generation Z and I suppose you could say ‘the alphabet stops here’, but somehow Generation Badass seems more appropriate.

Like most people I know, who have access to the internet, I watched and listened to parts of the March for our Lives today in Washington DC. There were moments when I simply had to switch it off because this cynical old auntie couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.

What a fucking brilliant bunch of kids. No. Seriously. Did you see them? In what universe did teenagers, not on drugs, have the confidence to puke on stage in front of half a million people, while being broadcast to millions more around the world and own it like a fucking boss? ‘I just threw up on international television and IT FEELS GREAT!’ was what she said after it happened.

She wasn’t a punk rocker. God knows how many of us punks would have given our left tit to be able to puke in front of millions of people. She wasn’t a drunk person, who just lost control. She wasn’t some wacked out Youtuber, gaining attention by sucking milk through her nostrils so that she could get onto Tosh.0 during one of his video puking sequences.

She was a young woman, who spent last Valentine’s Day, less than two months ago, watching her friend die in front of her at school after he was shot during one of the 50 mass school shootings since the famous Columbine. A Valentine’s Day massacre. This young woman puked while reading a poem through her tears, not begging, not imploring, not pleading but demanding to be heard.  And you know what she did? When she finally, painfully, with the crowd sobbing and silently willing her strength to continue? She reminded everyone that today marked her dead friend’s birthday and invited the whole crowd to sing Happy Birthday to him. Fuck! That hurt my soul. I had to switch it off for a while.

Generation Badass are speaking. Clearly. Purposefully. And they mean what they say. Forget about ‘draining the swamp’. These kids are just putting on their wellies and stomping right through it. If you belong to a generation before them, you better put your wellies on too, or move out of the fucking way. Generation Badass isn’t messing. They’ve got the vote and they know how to use it.

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