TL;DR version: I’m pissed off at older generations for screwing up pretty much everything that can be screwed up, and want to know if A) it’s just me and B) am I wrong to be pissed off?
Earlier today I was reading something online (I don’t even recall where) about how one of the biggest demographic groups in opposition to a public option in the health care debate is the elderly. I find this pretty much impossible to justify, as a huge number of these people benefit from Medicare, which is essentially socialized health insurance. What I hear from these senior citizens, basically, is “Well, you all should have to pay for my health care, but I shouldn’t have to pay for yours.” A large number of them presumably also benefit from Social Security, which I am paying into without any real expectation of ever getting anything back from it.
This got me thinking about prior generations in general - I’m 23, so pretty much anyone born in the late 70’s or earlier. I’m paying into their Medicare and Social Security; I have no expectation of either of those programs being around when I could benefit from them, as these prior generations have so grossly mismanaged them.
The global environment is under constant attack, because prior generations decided to hollow out mountains and burn all the coal within, drill for oil wherever they could, spill that oil into the ocean, slash and burn the rain forest, pave over everything they could, and dump the runoff from all of this in the ocean.
Medicine is arguably a victim of it’s own mismanaged success; antibiotics are wonderful and I’m glad polio’s not around in the first world anymore, but now we have XDR-TB, MRSA running rampant in every hospital in the first world, and every kid in the country is saddled with some pointless psychiatric diagnosis. (And, of course, while executives of pharmaceutical companies make massive amounts of money, people in the third world die of treatable and even preventable things like malaria and diarrhea).
The American economy, of course, is still trying to pick itself back up after a massive disaster, which my generation for the most part had nothing to do with. But even back when things were great, we had cities like Detroit and Camden, areas of cities like South Central LA, and parts of the country like much of Appalachia, where people live in abject poverty, in fairly hopeless situations. This was not a situation my generation had anything to do with, and ignores the even greater poverty outside of this country (cf Eastern Europe, much of Latin and South American, almost all of Africa, much of Asia).
So basically, at least in my opinion, prior generations have progressively messed up more and more of the world, to the point where it’s questionable whether or not we as a species will be able to undo this damage (eg, climate change). My generation has inherited this.
Now, I know that complaining about it is as useful as literally banging my head against the wall, but am I wrong for sometimes getting really pissed off about all of this? I created none of these problems; by and large everything was messed up or on the path to being messed up by the time my generation was old enough to vote.