September 2005 Column in the Carmel Voice
January 1, 1970Column by Steve Shapiro
In my youth adults were calling it a ‘generation gap,’ or “The Gap,” which was news.
“It’s the gap,” they’d say in front of Pilgrim’s way, on Pennsylvania Avenue, during the inquests about SDS. The kids just don’t have the experiences we had.
Say! The key to youth is immaturity. Act out your feelings or drop dead, the ‘older people’ say now. And, the ‘youth’ call those cool folks of our generation ‘the ancients.’
Now, the ever growing in popularity Vanity Fair is offering with an essay contest big money to know what is on the minds of our young people.
They say the youth have no interest in what’s going on. There are others who say the youth have faith mankind will and can figure out anything, with respect to AIDS, for example. Kids today believe we have all the money in the world, but have no faith in the government. They say [the kids] all our money is going out of the country; b ut they [the kids] buy Japanese games, German running shoes; and their folks buy Chinese manufactured goods.
Word is the youth aren’t lost, we lost the youth!
The idea of a global community is on the Internet, but how many found older people can use a computer? Who’s lost now?
I mean, somebody coughs in Istanbul and the word about some new flu virus is all over town before parents can pay their Visa down. A new car comes out on TV in commercials, and the neighbor boy knows how to raise the horsepower and what custom accessories are offered. A storm in the northwest is brewing, and the shop girls are wearing raincoats the day before a summer storm.
Look around, the youth is lost on the uninformed. The old is lost.
They say the youth are driving like maniacs, but it’s the mothers in empty cars who stop at stop signs and wait until the four corners clear, don’t know their own right of way. The single dads with car loads of gardening supplies are waiting at the highway until there are no cars within a mile before they pull out onto the highway.
How does it figure, when the youth are greeting with high-signs and smiling around town, while older people are worried sick. Sickness running through conversations and fear on the highway, the youth are making friends and smiling on all four corners.
Where do we go with this, I say peace-out with the idea that their only fault is no action. The youth today think everything will keep on going without their interference. They’re scared to do anything that might change the equilibrium; and here they have this looming responsibility for a national debt. That China might buy us out, and worse that we might loose the language! We might loose our rights to a flawed government leadership, but it hasn’t happened to me, they say. Fear without loathing is becoming the national identity and associated with youth.
Oh, our language won’t change from English, but learning how to speak the language is a lost art. Time was the media offered us rules for good speech, convinced us concerns were worth acting upon. Today, the false information and cover-ups in government mask the fears and cause in action all together.
Heard on national television “China says: . . .” whatever was announced about the economic crisis at home and bought by the country of China got lost because I was thinking, ‘how does a country say?’ Maybe if I knew ‘some genius at Harvard said, . . .;’ or that ‘Official Chinese economic policy was declared . . .;’ or The Chinese department of economics released this announcement on their economic take-over . . .’ It makes no sense, so what’s there to worry about?
No need to paraphrase the obfuscating U.S. President. Can’t get an educated answer out of him, let alone a straight one.
No wonder the youth seem lost, even we the older people can’t talk to them, can’t talk to each other for that matter.
They all have a critical comment, though, and they laugh, fruitlessly.
Maybe there’s nothing of interest in national politics because the youth can’t go anywhere, can’t make anything make sense.
How can a local community be interested in youth? It takes people of all ages to make a village.
Word is: We’re all gettin’ older, keep the faith.
Maybe the deal is to act immature and find youth in ourselves.
(Steve Shapiro from the Monterey Peninsula almost 40 years is the Charter President of the Jr. United Nations, an MIIS alumni, writes political policy for governments and history for publication. Shapiro authored “Carmel - A Timeless Place.”)