Flames of The Torch: The Right Way To Protest

Too often, our generation is derided when compared to those of the past.

To far too many people, there’s the “Greatest Generation” of World War II, the activists and counterculture generation of the 1960s, and then there’s the rest of us – uncultured, inexperienced, and with no respect for our elders.

While the “Greatest Generation” of World War II and the activists of the 1960’s deserve their place in history and the respect that comes with it,
it’s time that our generation is given some more respect as well.

Too many have a view of Generation Y as doing nothing but spending all day on computers, not having the backbone to stand up and fight for what they believe in. It’s now time for that view to disappear forever.

The recent protests on Wall Street have garnered quite a bit of attention, and deservedly so. Still, perhaps the most shocking thing about these protests is that they are happening at all.

We aren’t known to be the generation of protesters, and some cite that as a lack of activism. However, this generation has simply chosen a different path than those before us. Instead of consistently fighting the establishment, we have chosen to work within the establishment to bring about change.

President Obama’s election was a glimpse at the way Generation Y embraces activism. In the 2008 election, the youth vote had its highest turnout since 1972 – the first year that 18-year olds were allowed to vote.

Companies like Tom’s Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes to an underpriveledged child with every purchase, have innovated the way business can be used in the realm of social consciousness.

Despite the greed often associated with big business, companies are now trying to align themselves more closely with Nelson Mandela than Gordan Gekko-esque brokers.

Our generation, instead of tearing down the establishment, is working to correct it. The passion, fire, and righteousness of other generations is not missing in ours, we have just chosen to use ours in a different way. If Generation Y is missing anything, it’s flair for the dramatic – not a desire to make the world a better place.

There have been instances of protest, such as the recent Wall Street protests and the social media-fueled revolution in Egypt, but those instances are closer to exceptions than rules. Our generation is not afraid to stand up and fight, protest, or do whatever it takes to bring about the necessary changes, we are merely cautious and prudential with these types of measures.

Generation Y is not the lost generation; we’re simply less visible. This may be due to rapid advances in technology or the approach we have taken to resolving issues, but the lack of mainstream attention doesn’t mean that a lack of recognition for our efforts is acceptable. Technology may have made us less visible, but it has increased our numbers and ability to organize on a global scale.

For the first time in quite awhile, there is someone running for every spot  along the Freshmen SGI floor here at St. John’s.

While this may not be a major election that has a significant impact on the rest of the world, it does show that this generation is not as apathetic aspeople might believe, and is working for a better future even on the smallest levels of our society.

Generation Y is not apathetic, or lost, or unwilling to fight. Instead, Generation Y is building on the past and looking to establish a new way for the future.