We Buy Bikes Instead of Buying Cars

Gaslighting: In context to this article, is a strategy used by another with the interest of making one doubt their abilities, sanity and question their own reality

There are so many articles that have come out in the past few years that are directed at bashing millennials. These similar pieces tend to have the same distant analysis about how my generation is just a bunch of internet-selfie doobie-smokers who cant get their act together.  These authors sound less like they are giving an actual critique on the millennial generation and more as if they were posting a passive aggressive Facebook status as a disappointed parent. This is the same parent that doesn’t understand why hitting the pavement to get a job now means sitting on your computer for hours, scrolling through Craigslist ads, only to finally get a reply back from one of them and have it be someone trying to scam you for your credit.

As someone who graduated college in 2009, the year after the markets crashed and we were on the “brink of the next great depression”, I’ve experienced a less-than-ideal job climate. Right now, the job market looks more like Hunger Games than it does St. Elmo’s Fire. How can we build our own “nuclear dream” when the flower children are unable to retire? Holding on to their jobs harder then they held onto the 60’s. This has created the situation that most older millennials are stuck in, applying for the same hot dog on stick type jobs that they were already over qualified for in high school. Meaning they would have probably been better off if they didn’t go to college. At least then they would have the necessary experience without 25,000-dollar debt lurking over them while they hope to make more than 10 dollars an hour.   The market is full of highly skilled, underemployed millennials who could easily do these jobs that are being so quickly shipped away and occupied by older generations. But instead of saying, “what’s up, old people? Why are you guys hoarding all the jobs and money?” We understand that you guys are not just swimming in towers full of gold coins, and that the truth is that we’ve both been robbed out of our “American Dream”.

Capitalism is the crisis

Time magazine labeled us “Me Me Me Generation”, the article spoke about how we are narcissistic, selfie obsessed, brainless internet zombies. But yet, I’m the one who has to unfriend Uncle Lou because I don’t want to see a photomontage of his fishing trip. The internet, specifically social media, is not this youth filled blonde spoiled teenage girl taking selfies. It has created access and a voice for many non-white peoples of all ages, specifically young black youth, in a media market where our voices are so often kept out.  Many of these articles that have been published fail to acknowledge that we exist, and that we are not all white and privileged. This is no longer your cherry pie America and we refuse to allow you to whitewash our struggle.

White Supremacy is at stake

And with capitalism and white supremacy we get a failed representative government.  It’s no wonder why we don’t vote, it’s not because we’re lazy, it’s not because we don’t give a fuck; it’s because we know that this system doesn’t work. We glorified Clinton, demonized Bush, and fetishized Obama, only to wake up and realize that they are all the same.

We were radicalized by the failure of Barack Obama to be the change we were so desperately hoping for. His election mobilized and politicized us. He had organized himself a generation of foot soldiers who were discarded as soon as the polls closed. And with that, a generation of disillusioned, unemployed, first-time voters realized that it is these institutions that we have been forced into that are the problem. With our shattered perception of democracy, Occupy was born.

Another world is possible

Meanwhile we have learned to make do. We buy bikes instead of buying cars and we gentrify neighborhoods instead of buying houses. We don’t buy cars because we can’t afford them, gas prices and forced insurance is more than what we make in a week. We know that our American car culture is contributing to the destruction of this planet – our way of living has to change.  The transition from building freeways to railways, creating more public transit, eliminating fees instead of increasing them, and more bike paths are viable solutions that should have already been implemented.  Again, these questions of why Millennial aren’t consuming more show both the lack of perspective but also the failure to recognize the inadequacies of this system.

Minimize the Millennials

So what else do you do to the largest politicized tech savvy generation? You gaslight them, flood the media with news stories that victim blame them.  Devaluing them to insecurity, so that they lower their expectation so that $30,000 salaries begin to look like you hit the jackpot.  Create movies and shows that shame young adults who are forced to move back in with their parents, ignoring the fact that housing prices and wages are not aligned. What do you do other than to try to beat our confidence so that we numb ourselves with drugs, booze, sex, and mindless entertainment?

Among the distractions we’ve connected the dots. It’s the whole system that is fucked up and it’s going to be the internet-selfie doobie-smokers that are going to dismantle it.