The Kids Are Lazy, Self Absorbed, Difficult

This is what I heard in 1969 when I sat with 150 other young people outside a public building to protest the war in Vietnam. My friends and loved ones were fighting and I felt I had to take action.

Whether I was right or wrong in my beliefs; I was speaking up. It was scary but  I felt it was important.

Today’s younger generation, Gen Y (aka Millenials b. 1980-2000) is also taking it to the streets. In the form of  The Occupy movement. The press criticizes them for:

- not having a clear agenda

- not really knowing what they want

- being lazy and protesting as a way to get out of work

When I saw this last minute prep list for today’s May Day protests, I thought about 1969 and what it would have been like to have websites to help prepare us and cell phones to take photos of abuses and communicate with friends. Some of this sounded very familiar…

- Know your rights: The ACLU has some good basic info on your legal right to protest here

Other items are heartening:

- Know how to identify legal observers: Observers from the National Lawyers Guild will be on the ground throughout the day.

You may or may not agree but they are speaking up. They are not lazy or self absorbed — they are fighting for their future.

Photo Credit: RedhatRob.com

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1 Comment

  • By Carl Hoffman, May 2, 2012 @ 5:10 am

    You struck a nerve. I was always too scared to protest. I assumed they filmed everything and later it would come back to haunt you. One of the biggest protesters when I was in college. (1969 to 1972) is now a respected attorney and has argued cases before the US Supreme Court. I was wrong. My problem was, and to some degree still is, I try to please everyone to protect my elementary school reputation of being a “good boy.” I have lived my life playing by the rules and I have been rewarded reasonably well. But I think I might have done better by taking more intelligent risks. It takes wisdom to do that and courage to act. My father told me at the time “The real heroes of the Vietnam War are in Canada.” I was too busy listening to paranoid voices that motivated others by fear. It has taken my 40 years to shed that mode of thinking. I am a work in progress. Thanks for the catharsis opportunity.

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