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March 19, 2006

The Disenchanted Generation

I remember it like it was six years ago. The day was November 8, 2000; the setting, Mr. Christensen's AP Political Science class at University High School, in Irvine, Calif.; I was 17 years old -- a senior in high school. Incidently, it was also the day after the 2000 presidential election and the first time I can recall feeling true and utter disgust with politics and politicians.

That's not to say this was the first time I had felt cynical about the government -- the idiotic, rabidly partisan, tax-dollar-wasting Kenneth Starr investigation (estimated at $40 million) and subsequent impeachment procedings following Monicagate had already left me with little faith in the efficacy of our so-called representatives. However, watching the poorly written Constitutional melodrama, featuring our friend hanging chad and everyone's favorite villain, Katherine Harris, unfold, left me with a feeling of bitterness that far outweighed my contempt of the late 1990s; it wasn't cynicism -- it was disbelief. Things were just not supposed to be this way.

As the years passed, disbelief gave way to disenchantment -- Stem cells; 9/11; Enron; WMDs; Freedom Fries; the Iraq invasion; Mission Accomplished; Howard Dean Screaming; John Kerry Flip-flopping; Swift Boat Captains; Red State, Blue State; Abu Ghraib; Social Security; Valerie Plame; Katrina; Scooter Libby; SCOTUS; Medicare; Tom Delay; We Do Not Torture; Jack Abramoff; CIA Prisons; Warrantless Spying; Democratic Ports Deal Posturing; and the list goes on. And people wonder why our generation doesn't vote. What about any of those self-glorified windbags is the least bit inspiring? Nothing.

Leave aside the idiots trying hard to pass their high school government classes (and still failing), the imbeciles enamored with the 21st amendment (and not much else), and the self-avowed apathetic idiots, content with their blissful ignorance of politics and their keen knowledge of the equally idiotic likes of Britney, Kevin, and Paris. Unfortunately, my generation has plenty of these morons and I am not even going to attempt to make excuses for them. Disenfranchisement in this case is a good thing; sterilization would be better; euthanasia the ideal solution.

But what about those of us who care? What about those of us who want to be conscientious, informed citizens, but can't seem to combat the ever-growing sense of disillusionment? It seems the more I learn, the less I faith I have. And, you know what? While cynical incantations on the futility of politics and politicians might be funny, trendy, and en vogue, it gets old. At some point -- when you realize that it's not a joke, but a dismal reality -- it's no longer funny. It's just depressing. Stop the farce of tragically hip nihilism for a second and think about it -- this is your life. I don't know about you, but the future isn't so bright from where I'm looking.

Based on what I have just written, it might surprise people to learn that I still regularly follow the news and have voted in every election since I turned 18. Why? What's the point? Nothing's going to change. Nothing's going to get better. In fact, each day, it'll probably just be worse. Why even bother? Well, that's just the thing: the ultimate curse of the disenchanted generation.

Despite my total loss of faith and unparalleled disillusionment, I'm still not willing to give up all hope. If I did, I might have to confront the problem and do something about it. No, it's much easier to just trod along in silent despair, secretly hoping things will be better, all the while knowing it can only get worse. Woe is me; disenchantment, my generation.


Disenfranchisement in this case is a good thing; sterilization would be better; euthanasia the ideal solution.

Wow. Wow.

Sterilization for all, just not you and me. I need to have your love-child and then receive child-support/alimony.

It ain't just your generation, buddy. I'm almost old enough to be your daddy and the cynicism flows from me like fine wine at a Manhattan socialite's dinner party.

Once I was an idealist. Those dreams DIED HARD.

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