Civil rights, Vietnam, voting rights, free speech are all ideas that youth rallied about and protested. Focused and arguably just, these were the fights of our grandparents and parents.
Fast forward to Millennials. What are their causes? Reproductive rights for women? That already exists. Wall Street greed? That seems an oxymoron. Women rights? Please name a right that is missing or is not already codified?
Many generations in their youth have been labelled “rebellious” and “socially extreme” as they made moves to insight change. Marches on Washington, masses of people gathering in one place to promote a single or defined ideas of change, are nothing new. However, unlike previous generations, this millennial generation seems to be made of protestors without a cause. Occupy Wall Street and the Women’s March on Washington lack a cohesive message and are not enduring.
In these massive swaths of people there are collections of signs and chants, but not one idea or one cause. Yes, there is power in numbers, but that impact is lost when there is no one single idea or point of change that can be articulated. It is demeaning when celebrities stand to speak nonsense, then put on a show. Contrast to the 60s when Blacks hoped to get out of their marches with their lives.
If Millennials are to effect change they first need to be effective. And to be effective, there needs to be a focused purpose for their protest – not just protesting for something to do.