There is a great deal of dispute about the timeframe Millennials were born. According to The Center for Generational Kinetics, Millennials were born between 1977 and 1995. Marketing Teacher believes Millennials were born between 1981 and 2000. And, in an Atlantic article last year, it was reported Millennials covered two decades, from 1980 to 2000. No matter what the defined time period, I, myself, am a Millennial. I was born in 1985 and haven’t found a single study that deems me anything other than this.
For the longest time, Millennials were branded as an apocalyptic generation. We, with our privileged lives and coddling parents, would eventually lead to the downfall of civilization. We are seen as spoiled and disconnected. We would rather bury our noses in our phones than a good book. We prefer watching YouTube videos for two hours than going to a movie. And the vast majority of us have never seen an opera, or attended the symphony, and believe the only musical that actually exists is Hamilton. And, for the longest time, I rejected the notion I was lumped in with said Millennials. After all, I don’t have a trust fund, my parents weren’t doting, I didn’t have my first cell phone until I was 19 years old, I did—and still do—read a book a week. And I was one of the last people in America to see “Charlie Bit My Finger.” I was entirely ready to give up on the Millennial generation.
And then something happened; something so cataclysmic to our psyches many of us are still reeling: Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election.
From the moment Mr. Trump announced his candidacy back in 2015, up until the day of the election, many of us Millennials were complacent. Our numbers were particularly stagnant when it came to voter turnout. We quit going to rallies. We didn’t caucus, we didn’t fundraise, we didn’t door-knock. In short, we were lazy. But perhaps our biggest—and most glaring—error was that we absolutely couldn’t fathom the fact that an orange-haired sex predator with a penchant for alternative facts and bigotry could be elected to the nation’s highest office. We were naïve to believe general logic was enough to influence the election. We believed the American people would see through a man who suffers from malignant narcissism and extreme paranoia. We believed the president following in the footsteps of our beloved Barack couldn’t be somebody so glaringly evil and petty. But then we Millennials suffered that crushing blow that we Millennials aren’t used to: we were fucking wrong.
It was a shock to our system. But if there’s one bit of solace we can glean from such a horrific outcome, it’s that in that instant, our complacency was extinguished. Our apathy for politics was, in large part, cast away.
We rose up. We organized. We rallied. We donated.
The day after Trump’s inauguration millions of us took the streets and marched in protest of his presidency. Not the result of the election, but of Mr. Trump’s cruel and unusual policies. I was there in Oakland, and the scene surrounding Lake Merritt gave us hope. We saw tangible evidence that we were all in this together, and our protestations were supported by millions more like us.
Also, since the election charitable donations have risen steadily—predominately for human rights organizations. Charities like The Trevor Project, The Immigration Defense Project, and Planned Parenthood have seen an influx of cash. In fact, at the end of January, the ACLU reported in one weekend they received a total of $24 million in donations—six times its yearly average. Tech company Lyft even pledged a $1 million donation to ACLU, stating in an email to customers: “Trump closed the country’s borders to refugees, immigrants, and even documented residents from around the world based on their country of origin. Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.” Appropriately enough, Lyft co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer are both Millennials.
Support for outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post has also grown. In Q4 of 2016, the Times added 276,000 subscribers—the paper’s best quarter since 2011. The Times also said it had an increase of 41,000 paid subscriptions in the week following Election Day, and added more digital subscriptions in the last quarter of 2016 than all of 2013 and 2014 combined. We’re becoming more informed and fighting back against the Trump Administration’s alternative facts and desire for fake news. We're sourcing our information and then resourcing it. It’s not enough for us to know Alex Jones is insane, we need to prove he is.
Millennials are planning a revolt with information and consistency. We’re exercising our activism by creating groups such as Berners for Progress, The Other 98%, Join the Coffee Party, Occupy Yourself, and hundreds more. We’re organizing and creating platforms for goodness and common sense. We’re attending panels again, asking the right questions, and, perhaps most importantly, we’re challenging fake news and its bitter establishment. Hundreds of people are also petitioning for office, whether it be School Board, City Council, State legislatures, or something grander (at this point I’d take my landlord as President over this knucklehead). Finally, after all of these years in the dark, we’ve found our resilience. Believe it or not, Millennials, we have every opportunity in the world to be The Greatest Generation. Sorry, Tom Brokaw.
Keep in mind, too, the Millennials are resilient. We have lived through some serious shit. We witnessed the era of Monica Lewinsky and her stained dress. We saw a sitting president impeached. We were there when the courts decided the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. We watched the worst terrorist attack ever committed unfold on American soil. We were told by our President weapons of mass destruction were in Iraq, which was later revealed to be a lie. We were—and are—a part of the longest running war in the history of the world. We watched our economy recede, the banks collapse, and our government bail out these crooks. We were a part of ENRON, Haliburton, and Ponzi schemes. We were bystanders to a glut of mass shootings, including the appalling acts that took place in Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Gabby Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, the Aurora Theater, Sandy Hook, the church in Charleston, and, most recently, the Orlando nightclub which claimed the lives of 49 people. And the cherry on the Millennials’ shit-smeared sundae was the election of a man qualified to run little more than a 10-meter race.
And it’s not just Donald Trump. Congressional Republicans and Democrats are a mess, too—they have been for quite some time. Sure, there are a few shining examples—I’m looking at you Mr. Ellison, Mr. Booker, Ms. Warren, and Mr. Sanders—but Congress’ ineptitude is becoming dangerous. They’ve proposed a crippling replacement of the ACA, and many Congress men and women support the President’s budget that will guarantee the rich get richer and the poorer classes will die—literally. Republicans and Democrats are spiraling down a rabbit hole that is seemingly endless.
So today I pledge my allegiance to a new party: The Decency Party. And I encourage all my Millennial friends to join me. If The Decency Party is not the party for you, by all means, pledge your allegiance to the Green Party, the Democrats, the Republicans, the Tea Party, the Freedom Party, or whatever party you feel most comfortable with. But The Decency Party is a proponent, aptly, for: decency. The Decency Party believes in funding education and the well-being of America’s children. We believe in supporting the arts and protecting the environment. We believe in waging wars on poverty, not on poor people. We believe in funding NASA so future generations have a way to get off this planet when it’s inevitably destroyed by greenhouse gases and global warming. Speaking of global warming, we at The Decency Party believe it’s fucking real. We believe in scientific studies. We believe in equal rights. We believe in equal pay for women. We believe it’s the woman’s right to choose and, if need be, the federal government will help her pay for that choice. We believe in paid maternity and paternity leaves. We believe in immigration rights. We believe in due process. We believe in renewable energies. We believe in limited military spending. And we believe when the banks fuck over the American people they should be held responsible.
Mr. Trump, I apologize that we Millennials will not be deterred. Even if our arms tire and our fists chafe, we will refuse to stop pounding on the White House door demanding satisfaction. We will not stand for your bigotry and “White Power” agendas. You are everything we Millennials hate and we will fight you every step of the way. Your Non-Decency Party—headed by white supremacist Steve Bannon—will be dismantled. Mark our words. And, oh, what a sweet day that will be.
But the last thing we Millennials have to understand is that the success of any good revolution needs a final punctuation mark. And the only way to complete our rise is to vote. It’s the final step in what is sure to be a long, drawn out fight. But the moment we vote and make our voice of Decency heard, we take back this country. No longer should we be prisoners of a broken system.
We’ll see you out on the battlefield, Mr. Trump, and wish you the best of luck against a party willing to fight for all Americans.