Well, according to an article in the New York Times this past Sunday:
GENERATION O is that college kid at the White House gate early Wednesday morning, lifting his shirt to reveal “Obama” painted in red on his chest.
And, of course, Generation O is the president-elect himself.
Read full article here.
One wonders if Generation 0 is going to be the new nomenclature for what is commonly knowns as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y, those between the ages of 19-29. Well, whatever you call them it is true that they came up big for Obama on election night.
Mr. Obama’s victory was greatly helped by his young allies. More 18- to 29-year-olds went to the polls this year than in any election since 1972 — between 21.6 million and 23.9 million, up from about 19.4 million in 2004, according to preliminary estimates from the Center for Information and Research of Civic Learning and Engagement. And 66 percent voted for Mr. Obama, according to exit polls by Edison/Mitofsky.
They showed the fuck up! Which is more than can said for Generation X over the years. And for that I know I am grateful. And they should be proud. For making Barack Obama the first Generation X President in addition to the first black President. And I know, I know, there are those out there that will refuse to accept that Obama is a GenXer, but he is. He is not a Boomer; he’s too young, even if he was born within your predefined year parameters. And he is not Generation Jones, because, well, the designation of Generation Jones is lame. Ask 10 random people on the street what Generation Jones is, and I’d be surprised if even on can tell you. And even the one that maybe can won’t get it. So it’s a non-entity. Give it up.
In any case, in the grand scheme of things that Obama is Generation X — and he is — is fairly minor. If not for the Times article, I doubt I would have blogged about it at all. But it is true. And as Obama transitions into the White House and begins to govern the evidence that he is Generation X will only grow.
But back to the Millennials that helped get him there. They sure impress the hell out of me. I went into the local Obama office here in B’ham. It was mostly Millennials, young women still wearing braces and young guys still fighting acne. They tried to get me pitch in, to help out, to fight along side them. But in typical GenX fashion I simply would not join. I tried to do my thing on the fringes, with this pathetic little blog, by sending emails to people I know, by posting messages on Facebook and MySpace, by talking to family and friends and co-workers where and when I could. I was cool with that. But joining a massive organization. Sorry, ain’t going to happen. So thank God for the Millennials or Gen Y or Gen O or whatever brand they end up being saddled with. Who knows? Does it matter?
Last week I was listening to Chris Mathews bloviate on Hardball, saying how Obama was this generations Jack Kennedy. I thought, yeah, that’s kind of true. And I thought that was cool, for Millennials, while at the same time feeling a little bitter sweet because GenX got Bill Clinton, a gifted politician to be sure and an amazing mind for all sorts of things but in some ways a serious disappointment. You know of what I speak. He disappointed even more during the Primary, which was cool. It just helped solidify my support for Obama. And anyway, being disappointed is part of life, right.
But like some others, I wonder how Millennials are likely to react to disappointment when it comes. And it will come. Obama is not flawless, he does not walk on water. Mistakes will be made. There will be failures. He knows that. He’s too smart not to. But do these young supporters know that? Do they really?
…such a sweeping success could also breed trouble. “The risk is they vote for the first time, and then there’s this incredible long-shot win — ‘Gee this is easy,’ ” said Kurt Andersen, a founder of Spy and former editor of New York Magazine. There is also “a risk of this generation conflating our iPhones with the substantive policy progress that the iPhones and laptops enable.”
Inevitably, he said, “growing up is all about disappointment and things not going well — so that is a natural next step.”
The pain of dashed hopes, if it comes, could be eased by this generation’s news media diet, which has made them fantastically informed and skeptical. Or it could be worsened by the psychology of how they were raised and came of age.
Ronald Alsop, author of “The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace,” said that because today’s young people have been trained to trust teams and systems — they love checklists — they often struggle when things do not go according to plan.
And with the direction the economy is headed, I’m going to go ahead and guess that it is likely that many a Millennial is going to find his/her best laid plans thwarted. GenXer know how that feels. We know it sucks. But we also know it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Good things can and do happen, despite shitty circumstance beyond your control. Sometimes even great things. Thing like electing the first POTUS!