Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The fierce urgency of now

Today's title comes courtesy of Sen. Barack Obama, but it speaks more about the 18-30 year-olds who support him than why he's running for president.
And it says why he has a good chance of winning in November.
I saw an annual report on what this year's high school graduates have that their parents didn't. Like compact discs, plasma TVs and microwaves. This is the generation that has raised itself with television as babysitter and cultural sherpa. They are post-integration, post-affirmative action, post-civil rights and don't know that Richard and Mildred Loving went to court to keep their interracial marriage legal.
This is the "I want it and I want it now" generation who have found their kindred soul in the form of Barack Obama. His fierce urgency is now and so is theirs. Psychologists warned for years that praising our children and letting them have what they want when they want it instead of delayed or earned gratification will only increase their desires.
That's why I chuckled to myself when I saw a Republican pundit on TV say his own children were voting for Obama. Growing up with conservative values was not enough to keep them from favoring a Democratic candidate. They knew they liked what they saw and heard and they wanted him to be their president.
Parents, regardless of party preference, have told their children that everybody's equal and the playing field's level and if you play by the rules, you can succeed. And now our teachings have come back to haunt us. What are we gonna do, tell them no? That we lied to them? Even that Republican father couldn't tell his kids why they shouldn't support Obama. He displays that cool persona everybody really wants or wants to see in others. He's controlled under pressure and he knows when to smile even when there's nothing funny.
He's the me we want to be.
If he can play that on a world stage, this country will be back on top in no time. And he actually says stuff like he really believes it. Some kids can't get that at home. They get mixed messages and sometimes no attention at all. They're hungry for a real adult in their lives to make them want to do for others instead of their parents' Me first generation mentality. Talkin' bout my generation....

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