If you’ve never had anything to fight for, how do you know how to fight?
As the youth in Syria, Egypt and Yemen take to Facebook and Twitter to organize their fight for scraps of freedom, here in the United States, our youth is pretty content with waiting for someone else to wage the battle. Or at least that’s what David Weidner is proposing in the Wall Street Journal article, Facebook Chronicles a Lost Generation.
The article opens with, “Is there a revolution brewing in America,” but the real question seems to be, Why isn’t there a revolution brewing in America?
Few would say that young Americans are without opinion, but for some reason that voice is lacking unity and follow-through. The Occupy Wall Street protest demonstrates, more than anything else, that we don’t have a clue how to start a revolution. The message is weak and unfocused, the turnout has been humble, and the media coverage has amounted to no more than a few blips here and there. Squatting in a park and blocking traffic, this is our social revolution?
The wars for the freedoms we take for granted were fought long ago. Today, they’re going through the motions, but really do not know shit about drastic social change. And why should they? After all, no modern revolution manual can be googled. The Communist Manifesto says nothing of Twitter feed. And many of their peers are still waiting for someone to sound the horn and let them know that now is the time for action.
Who is holding up the revolution? When discussing lack of revolutionary experience, it’s hard not to point out the overindulged, white American male. Look back a few generations and we find women and African Americans at the forefront of their movements to ignite social change. The current generation might not be able to revolt their way out of a paper bag, but that fight is still in their blood. The messages coming from the Occupy Wall Street crowd are neutral by gender and race, so is it unfair then to blame the most pampered of the group? Favored throughout history, it can be said that white males have the most to learn about the uprising of the underdog.
So, what does it take to light a fire under the asses of our recently disadvantaged youth? Weidner points out that there is no doubt they are suffering from the state of our economy, “… joblessness runs between 10% and 23% for workers under 25 years old.” College loans won’t disappear, bills pile up, hope dwindles, and there doesn’t seem to be a single soul in power fighting for their future.
Is there a learning curve for social revolution and could Occupy Wall Street simply be the steam before the pot boils over? For the sake of the would-be revolutionaries, let’s hope that Occupy Wall Street is a practice run. They have the tools and they’re slowly figuring out how to use them. The framework to organize and grow numbers through social networks has been built and proven around the world. That soapbox can remain on standby while our American youth takes a crash course in provoking social change. They’re finally realizing that the future is theirs to fight for, not inherit.
Photo – david_shankbone/Flickr