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Thursday, October 11, 2007

You are Q


You are Q?

In an opinion piece in this morning’s New York Times, Thomas Friedman named18-25 year olds GENERATION Q.

Why “Q” you ask? He says, “It’s for all these reasons that I’ve been calling them ‘Generation Q’ — the Quiet Americans, in the best sense of that term, quietly pursuing their idealism, at home and abroad.” I may have gone for generation “C” (Chipotle/Creatives generation), M (Mac generation), or perhaps “B” (the BEST generation)…but Friedman may be on to something here.

He continues, “college students today are not only going abroad to study in record numbers, but they are also going abroad to build homes for the poor in El Salvador in record numbers or volunteering at AIDS clinics in record numbers. Not only has terrorism not deterred them from traveling, they are rolling up their sleeves and diving in deeper than ever.”

Friedman pledges that while this idealism and action is admirable, we must begin to seek political power and demonstrate radical activism and get out of our virtual world. He adds, “But Generation Q may be too quiet, too online, for its own good, and for the country’s own good. When I think of the huge budget deficit, Social Security deficit and ecological deficit that our generation is leaving this generation, if they are not spitting mad, well, then they’re just not paying attention. And we’ll just keep piling it on them.”

Ironic that I write this as a blog, online, to grab the attention of those who may be motivated by Friedman’s words. Silly internet.

I am not one to argue with this great columnist and international best selling author, but I do wonder if he is correct in saying that it is time for our generation to become more radical. Is it not radical enough to simply bare the burden left by previous generations? I find that many of my peers accept the era we live in, and rather than moving to a law degree or relocating to Capital Hill they start a web site or write a blog in an attempt to start a movement. Is this passive? Should we be sitting in at our local social security office demanding reform? Should I call Hilary Clinton and demand that she change her opinion on foreign aid? Should I march into the Chipotle headquarters screaming the injustice of only one Chipotle in the greater-Seattle area? Maybe I don’t want to do those things. How can I raise my voice, while demonstrating my own radical opinion of non-threatening/non-violence?

For me, as a Christian, this conversation becomes larger. What role does Christ play within culture? Is he the reformer? The transformer? The advocate? The opposition? Would he have a larger voice against the national debt that would fill two of Scrooge McDuck’s vaults? If Christ were a member of “Generation Q”, where would we see Him?

I may not have an answer for that. An idea perhaps. But this entry is getting long and I truly want your opinions. Generation Q: are we too quiet? What do you believe in and how do you move towards that end? What do you think factors into our generation’s quiet activism? Should we grab our metaphorical mega-phones and climb to the top of our metaphorical buildings?

Article: Thomas Friedman - Generation Q

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Derrick Fudge said...

I have heard this generation described as the first that will sit around and talk about whether or not we should go to mars, or discuss the merits of volunteering, or anything else. This generation will just do it. The reason your journalist is commenting on the lack of radicalism is because he is expecting it in the old method of radicalism, I.E. protests, working through the government, rock and roll. The new generations will use completely different methods of changing the world

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