The Millennial Future
The era of the political gatekeepers is officially over. Consider this an obituary. Millennials can no longer afford to “wait our turn” or “get in line” or “pay our dues” or whatever cliché that is directed our way. Our futures depend on the gates opening up, or we will dismantle the barriers altogether.
Our Future Depends On It
In the year 2057, I will be the current age of the President of the United States and dealing with the effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and infrastructure atrophy. I will be contributing my tax dollars to paying for tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations, and the perpetual state of warfare started 54 years earlier.
I will have also spent the majority of my adult life repaying my government interest on the student’s loans I used to pay for higher education. I, along with my peers, will have tried to dismantle the institutional norms of inequity, racism, and sexism, and if we were successful will enter our seventies with hope and concern for future generations. This scenario is why I believe it is time for the millennial generation to lean into disruption and double down on challenging the status quo. Our futures depend on it.
According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. Millennials are the largest eligible voter population in the United States, according to recent Rock The Vote data. Millennials are leading the charge of disruption in industries large and small. Millennials are rethinking the work week, employment standards, and bringing about awareness to make professional spaces more diverse and inclusive.
Our Future, Out Time
Millennials are in middle management careers and are successfully making the transition into senior management and executive leadership roles. This evolution will certainly send ripples throughout the culture. Millennials are changing how we consume, embracing minimalism, and choosing experiences over material goods. Millennials are disrupting political culture at both ends of the political spectrum from the progressive idealists on the political left to young conservatism with libertarian features on the political right. What these Millennials have in common is that we are embracing disruption and challenging the status quo. Our futures depend on it.
Millennials should start embracing the pervasive entitlement stereotype. Millennials should lean in on those entitlements by challenging the status quo and disrupting the system as we know it. We should use our influence as the largest portion of the labor force to demand better wages and more equity for those at the top and bottom of the wage gap. We should use our influence to demand paid family leave, maternity and paternity leave, and child care services.
We should use our sense of entitlement to demand that we lift people out of the shadow economies and demand an immediate end to the US taxpayers supplementing the income of corporations making record profits year over year. We should use our influence at the ballot box and advance leaders who will do right by our undocumented friends and neighbors. We’ve played soccer together, celebrated birthdays, and achieve milestones with our friends who bravely came out of the shadows and applied for DACA status. It is time we put them on a path to citizenship of the only country they have ever known. Our futures depend on it.
Millennials should embrace our entitlement and demand ethical and sustainable food supply chains. We have already changed the way food is served and delivered. We’ve built apps and elevated on-demand services with innovations on the horizon. We should demand clean air, clean water, solvent roads, and bridges. Millennials should embrace our entitlement by demanding state of the art public transit systems and more walkable communities. As the pioneers of the most interconnected society, the world has ever know we are entitled high-speed WIFI connectivity and not just in city centers from rural communities as well.
We should use our influence to finally settle the debate that access to healthcare is a human right. We are starting to use our influence to shape culture by showcasing the beauty of our diversity on screens large and small. We are breaking down institutions of white supremacy and the system of patriarchy and leaning into what it means to be an egalitarian society. We should be proud of this. Our sense of entitlement Is our greatest strength. We worry less about how it has always been and focus more on how it should be. Yes, we are entitled to occupy our seats at tables of leadership and power. Let’s write some promissory notes to our future seventy-year-old selves. Our future depends on it.
Johnny V. Boykins is President of the Pinellas County Young Democrats, a husband, bow tie aficionado, amateur chef, and U.S. Coast Guard veteran. Johnny is also currently serving as Vice Chairman of the Pinellas Democratic Party.