America’s future is not “us vs. them”

Dear Editor:

Oh, for shame. A generation that values quality of life over quantity in life? Jan Dolcater, in his Sept. 12 commentary on the millennial-sourced degradation of the American mindset [“American mindset is changing for the worse”], paints a grim picture indeed. Blaming a supposed left-leaning educational system for instilling socialist values, the end can’t be far off can it? The statistics cited were the importance of patriotism, belief in God and having children, none of which are among the most important for millennials, but are significant to those 55-plus. Hard work is reportedly very important to both groups. So what does this mean?

Patriotism: Millennials are increasingly disenfranchised by a system that fails to protect, or even discriminates against segments of society — women, people of color, the poor. While many millennials are patriots in that they love their country, they also want it to do better for all, not just the privileged few. Recognizing flaws and working to address them is a positive thing. It’s the same with yourself, and your country.

Belief in God: News flash: Christians, like their religion, are not inherently imbued with a superior bolt of moral fabric. The Ten Commandments are not ideas unique to Christianity and a lack of a belief in God, Christian or otherwise, or a belief in the nonexistence of any deity whatsoever does not make a person immoral. It does base the morality they do possess on more than a belief that has been passed down through generations of indoctrination. We call that good upbringing.

Having children: With global resources strained and financial stability difficult for many, where is the impetus to conceive children and struggle to provide for them? What kind of life can we offer? People still have children but many wait longer, until ready financially and psychologically. Many choose to adopt those given up either because of accidental pregnancy or the parents’ inability to provide a suitable environment.

That, in contrast to generations past that married young, worked hard, had many kids, saved money and invested, bought vacation homes and fifth-wheel RVs and motored across the country (burning copious amounts of fossil fuels all through life). That was fulfilling for those generations. Many millennials, however, would rather have a simpler, more fulfilling life than the grandiose aspirations of their forefathers. Millennials are different, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

While we could all use a better grasp on American history (not the candy-coated version many learned in school) millennials generally seek to protect our only environment, recycle, use responsibly sourced products, advocate for animal rights, want equality for all people, to eliminate hatred and discrimination and have compassion for the less fortunate. And they’re willing to work hard to do those things. These are values from the same Bible that Christians thump day in and day out.

True, the future will be different, but there’s no reason to frame it as an “us vs. them” fight for the survival of America, charging older generations to defeat the ideas of the young. As with all things, this country continues to evolve (whether you believe in evolution or not) and history shows us it is not necessarily the biggest, strongest or best-established that eventually thrives.

Roy D. Gott


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