Right on cue, the young people have stepped up. No sooner did the book "Millennial Momentum" appear than the young generation it describes launched "Occupy Wall Street". The authors of "Millennial Momentum" deserve the Nobel Prize for Timely Prediction!
If you accept the authors' well-researched description of this generation, you will understand Occupy Wall Street and stop asking, "Who's in charge?" Or "What do they want?" Because the answer will be obvious to you. The Occupiers, each and all of them, are in charge. And they want to make EVERYTHING better.
These are precisely the characteristics attributed to this great new generation by authors Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais. This generation does not look upwards for leadership, works well as a group, and is deeply committed to improving the world.
(And don't sneer at these "dreamers". Three similar generations in American history have also realized "the impossible dream", as I'll discuss in a minute.)
The Millennials' other attributes are splendid too. They are educated and very smart. They are practical and willing to compromise for results, say Winograd and Hais. The Millennials are also highly diverse, without homophobia and racial prejudice, and don't want to run other people's private lives. They are committed to social justice and reform of the political system. And they are committed to the environment.
Oh, boy, are they ever committed to the environment!
And they are powerful in their numbers. There are 95,000,000 of them! Yes, that's right. NINETY-FIVE MILLION of them, born between 1982 and 2003. This is the soon-to-be largest voting block ever in our history. Connected with each other and the world electronically, they can probably achieve anything.
By 2020, one in every three American voters will be in this age group. This is the age group that helped elect Obama, turning out at the polls in greater numbers than the seniors. By next year half of the 95 million will be eligible to vote, including the eldest three of my nine grandchildren. Meantime, the old folks - including the numerous bigots and reactionaries among them - are dying out. Literally. And the complacent, self-indulgent, don't-bother-if-it's-not-about-me Boomers are in a state of shock, having just realized that the GOP they empowered has looted their pension money.
For all their social conscience, the Millennials certainly have a personal interest in what's going on. They can't get jobs. Global climate change threatens their physical survival. They see a government run by lobbyists on behalf of the out-of-control banks and monied interests that are destroying the Millennials' present and future.
The authors of "Millennial Momentum" argue that this generation is one of those that come along about every eighty years in America. They are like the generation of the American Revolution, then the one that did the Civil War and ended slavery, and then the one that did the New Deal, won World War II, and launched the civil rights movement, Women's Liberation, environmental and consumer protection, etc. Three "Greatest Generations" with big dreams and incredible track records. And now comes a fourth!
It's not foolish for them to dream big. It's American!
So what's their next step right now? Don't ask me. Don't ask them. A tidal wave is coming, and it's them. It doesn't even matter if Occupy Wall Street fizzles. History is about to be made, and these bright young people will figure out what steps to take as they go along.
It has begun.
A new generation has arrived. I have seen the future and can die a happy, hopeful woman.
And old age being what it is, a lot of old bigots and ignorant old fogies are going with me! What a way to go! I can die smiling!
Thanks, Occupy Wall Street!