Friday, November 16, 2007

The Next Cultural Revolution

(University of Arizona Information Commons) Those familiar with this blog know that I have posted repeatedly of the young generation of individuals now attending college, The Next Generation of omnivores who cannot remember a world without the personal computer, computer games, and for many, the Internet and email. When they hear the word "mouse" the last thing that comes to mind is an animal. They have disconnected any association of a phone with a physical location. When you call someone, you are calling a person, NOT a person’s home or office.

They can communicate silently via new rules that apply to text messaging and email while sitting in class, buying groceries, or (gads) driving down the street. One particularly stupid omnivore walked in front of an oncoming train while sending a text message.

MySpace started but Facebook prevailed in that now the vast majority of this population has their own Web site unified by a protocol (the Facebook infrastructure) that allows unprecedented networking and self-expression including photos (in fact, entire photo albums organized by subject or chapter) and, yes, videos a la YouTube.

I write to make the assertion that these individuals think differently with profound implications for the both the blogosphere and politics. The 2008 election, I allege, will be the first where this population emerges as a force that can indeed alter an election. Ignore this group at your peril, so let’s discuss some of what this population is about.

First, the environment. They have to live on this planet longer than the rest of us, and like us, they don’t want to check out prematurely because we let corporations poison the place or release a super bug that wipes us out. Politicians who fail to craft a message that addresses environmental concerns make a mistake.

Second, sexual and reproductive freedom. This population almost entirely rejects the sexual "taboos" and any restrictions on consensual sex between adults, and when they think adult, you’re there at 18 or even 16. Homophobes are dinosaurs. Who cares? Birth control should be as available as toothpaste, and only the poorest of this group are not fully aware (and quite responsible) about protecting themselves from both unwanted pregnancy and STD’s. If forced by clueless parents, they will smile and nod in abstinence programs and sneak off to have sex.

Third, gender and ethnic tolerance. The group does not buy into male supremacy at all, and a misogynist might as well wear a doggie do collar in terms of social acceptance. Immigration becomes complex quickly for this population which is hostile to policies harming law abiding (other than being here) working “illegals” yet quite quick to support harsh measures for illegal immigrants who commit crimes. They can rally behind a strong border, but don’t expect them to get behind a massive deportation of hard working members of society, and if you want to penalize their own (children of illegal immigrants – think DREAM), you don’t have their support.

Fourth, economic equity and the middle class. The increasing concentration of wealth dramatically exacerbated by obscene tax cuts for millionaires is an issue Democrats can use with this population. Ron Paul has electrified this group in quantities pointing to the irresponsibility of the massive deficit spending of the Bush Administration. The Farm Bill is a little too complicated to capture their attention, but corporate subsidies to oil corporations making record profits, framed effectively, can boil their blood. Who does this government serve, anyway? Dick’s pals?

Fifth, the Iraq War. They HATE it, knowing it is based on lies and was executed with appalling incompetence by corrupt and dishonorable individuals for corrupt and dishonorable reasons. Further, the war is killing THEM. Our soldiers belong to this group. They have class mates, husbands, friends, and brothers killed or maimed in Iraq so Hunt Oil can secure lucrative deals with Kurds. They HATE this war, and Ron Paul’s message to get out TOMORROW provokes squeals and screams of political outcry, “YES! YES! YES!!”

Sixth, health care. Not themselves, but their parents, are starting to get old. They see a government full of officials who don’t pay a thin red cent for health care while many of them and their parents have no access. Know about the 63 day thing? Get tossed out of work, an event happening to many aging boomers as soulless corporations revoke pension commitments. After 63 days, you can’t get insurance even if you can afford the premiums. This nightmare is getting louder. They love their parents and in increasing numbers will start thinking about having to care for them.

Seventh, education. They value and love information, the fruit of the information age. Already having parents, soon this population will have children. Here we must disaggregate by socio-economic status where the poor omnivores work for Walmart, tire shops, and restaurants. The better off value education highly and understand globalization and the importance of intellectual capital. The United States in the 60’s (thank Sputnik and all that it sparked) became the most highly educated country on the planet. We are slipping and badly, bleeding our education infrastructure at all levels and losing stature. Our electing an eggplant into the White House who travels the world and embarrasses world leaders with humiliatingly idiotic and arrogant remarks has dealt major blows to the world leadership position our nation once held.

Eighth, religious tolerance. Want to worship Christ and practice Christian values? Terrific. Have at it and enjoy, but start throwing stones or getting off on some superiority nonsense about knowing the truth while other religions live in ignorance, and you lose almost all of them. In larger numbers than any generational cohort they embrace the different expressions of human spirituality so long as the expressions are not misogynist or racist. The events in Iran are interesting, where old geezer "morale police" are cracking down on Iranian omnivores. I give the Iranian geezers ten years at most (Iran’s average age is like 15) before they reach a tipping point, unless of course, Dick invades the place and creates another fiasco.

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