Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Post-Terror Generation

When did generations stop being defined in terms of war?  In terms of the hardship that fueled dreams of a brighter future for the generation to follow?  The name of an age once served as a reference and reminder to ill-fated political policies, to the suffering wrought by our own hubris so that we might shield future generations from the mistakes that have cost us our chance.  When we examined a generation, their defining characteristic has most often been forged by war.

The Lost Generation who witnessed the hardship of WWI and the political forces that disappeared the golden age into the modern age.  The Victorian Age before it, synonymous with colonialist expansion and industrialization.  Generation X was the first generation to be defined without direct reference to a defining war or hardship because theirs was a generation without a cause, without fight or direction.  It was defined by its 'anti' characteristics, most notably apathy, in contrast to its parent generation, the post-WWII Baby Boomers.

There is now a post-terror generation.  Children born near the end of the 20th century and certainly after 9/11 who have never known a world that was not caught up in the War on Terror, who have not been consumed at every cultural level by a political policy structure reacting to the War on Terror.

The post-terror generation was the term used by Edward Snowden in an interview with Vanity Fair in April 2014  to describe the millennials, a group that polling research has noticed is a more optimistic, less polarized generation.  Trying not to repeat the behaviors they've witnessed in the generation that preceded them such as the US engaged in a multi-front war, a contentious, non-stop screaming match between political parties, and more and more leaders that find it easier to blow up a problem rather than reach out and build a solution (Generation Terror by Michael Scarfo). The post-terror generation will look past the bombastic pressures that rile or depress the rest of us as simply white noise. 

The War on Terror is a black hole of policies that have pulled us into war and obscured our focus on the environment, the banking collapse, poverty, education, healthcare..... creating an paralleled atmosphere of partisan rancor.  The post-terror generation had no other course but to rebel against this failed model.  Ironically, because they have always had the looming threat of terror, the fear does not govern their lives in the way the previous generation felt a tectonic shift had robbed them of an inalienable security.   

The evolution of current security policy is certainly more complex than this post delves into; here, I am interested in pondering how this young generation coming up behind me sees the world, and why we don't have cooler names for generations!  The alphabet system has run its course.  I vote for a return to connecting ourselves to a defining struggle.  The post-terror generation suits these kids.