Economics Professor Jack Chambless, asked his sophomore students at Valencia College in Florida to write a ten minute essay on what they believed the American Dream was, and what their own American dream was as well. Be sitting down when you watch this news report on what these kids said in response. By the way, this all took place BEFORE the #Occupy movement took off. But it certainly lends insight on how the movement expanded and took hold.
Somewhere along the line an entire generation of American young people have come to believe that it is the government’s duty to rob from the rich and give to the populace, specifically, to them, over the entirety of their lives. They turned in essays saying as much with straight faces, thinking that absolutely nothing was amiss in their thinking or their utterly childlike and petulant expectations of a lifetime of perpetual endowments.
I don’t know about you, but this is NOT the America I grew up in!
I went to work at 15 and worked full time in the evening while finishing high school by day. I earned 5 different art scholarships by working my ass off and went to art college with those, while continuing to work full time at night. I attended college from 8am to 4 pm and clocked in at 4:30 on my night job and worked til 9:30 pm each night 6 days a week. I graduated 6 months early, got the jump on my peers and landed a full time job at one of the top ad agencies in my region before the graduation ceremonies for my class had even commenced. I had to beat out 5 other students in my graduating class to get that job and 3 of them were male – the southerner’s preferred gender for hiring at that time. At no point in any of this did it ever occur to me that society or the government “owed” me anything. I was completely and exclusively responsible for my own achievements or failures, and no one else. It was not even remotely in my realm of consciousness to “expect” to be given something by the federal government.
We didn’t think that way. Some of the people in my peer group would go on to become very successful, prosperous people. But if this happened it wasn’t because they were just given successive “endowments” in life by the federal government. They started a company, or they climbed the career ladder and eventually obtained a high paying position through good old fashioned sweat equity. That was the foundation we all started out on in life, that you strive and earn your way to success by hard work, talent and tenacity.
In fact, had I heard anyone in my age group talking like these kids talked, I would have wondered what they were smoking and how much. Not to sound silly, but I actually mourn the fact that grown men and women in their early twenties now think this way in America. It does NOT bode well for the future of our country. These are the same people who will inherit the nation in another 20 years as mature adults. What will they believe by then? What will America look like with “generation sloth” at the helm?
I have to add that I well know many young people, [including my own relations ] who are anything but these kinds of kids: gimmee-gimmee kids. A niece comes to mind who is in her late 20s. She went on a mission last year to find a better paying job, with a less histrionic boss and a better chance for advancement. She was employed part-time at that time in a retail store. Jobs are scarce in my region and unemployment is high. But she started her job hunt and four months later she landed a gem entry position at a local resort. It’s now eight months later and she’s been promoted twice in that eight months. She is all drive, and ambition. She makes it happen by hard work and intelligence. I could not be more proud of her. That’s the kind of young woman one can be proud of. And I am. As for the “gimme-gimme kids” I feel nothing but embarrassment and shame for them. I highly doubt many in that class will amount to much unless they apply to the federal government for a set of replacement brain parts. Their current thinking is seriously defective.
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