My Generation

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All the signs point to the conclusion that I live in the past. Peace signs and Grateful Dead stickers decorate my bumper; the smell of burning incense permeates everything I own; and Bob Dylan’s protest songs fill my ipod. My friends are always calling me a “hippie” and telling me I was born in the wrong decade, that somehow my timeline got tangled, but I have to disagree. The reason I dress the way I do and listen to the music I do is because I am fascinated with what the hippie culture stood for and still stands for today: having opinions and taking a stand. However, I refuse to wish myself back to that time because I have faith in my own generation.

I have faith in my generation, but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry about its fate. The most important issue facing us is we need to be given a global awareness. The traps of triviality pose a serious threat as we live in a world packed full of distractions: grades, jobs, the latest episode of Lost. Who has time to watch CNN or read the newspaper with so much going on, then who has time to react to what they learn? The reason for the apathy attributed to the current young generation is not from a lack of compassion or guts but from a lack of knowledge. We are taught about the Holocaust in history class; we are supposed to learn from history’s mistakes so we are not “condemned to repeat them.” However, we are not taught about the genocides of present day. How are we supposed to be outraged at something we are unaware of? How are we supposed to take action against something we don’t even know exists? The microcosm of our culture and everyday routine threatens to blind us from the greater concerns of the world and our obligation as youth to better it.

But I have faith in my generation because when we do become aware, we will take action. I do not blindly give my faith, for I have personally witnessed the proof for this theory at my high school. A group of my friends and I began running a school club to bring attention to the ongoing genocide in Darfur. We would wear our Save Darfur t-shirts on club meeting days, organize fundraisers, and try to bring publicity to the crisis. In the early days of the club, people would ask us “Who’s Darfur?” However after putting on a demonstration at lunch, the message spread and soon the bright yellow “Save Darfur” t-shirt became a fashion must-have with the likes of a designer handbag.

Although I might be wearing a tie-dye shirt and listening to Janis Joplin as these words flow from me, I am glad to be living today, for I have faith that my generation will make tomorrow better than even the hippies could have dreamed it.





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