The myth of a weak and too emotional millennial generation is not a new one. We are the generation where "everyone gets a trophy" and "everyone is special." According to pundits and reporters and other adults we are weak and can't handle the real world. There are plenty of articles circulating about this belief about my generation, and plenty in response trying to defend millennials. There are jokes about how millennials love writing about defending millennials. Maybe we do. Maybe we feel the need to defend ourselves because these attacks are baseless and represent a misunderstanding of a larger cultural shift.
The millennial myth seems to fit in with the perceived problem of political correctness. We're charged with walking on eggshells around others, too afraid to say anything that could possibly be considered offensive. We hide in our university sponsored safe spaces with our fingers in our ears saying "la la la" any time something we disagree with is said. We're charged with being vulnerable and coddled because we don't tolerate blatant hate speech or dangerous ideas.
I don't see it as weakness. I see it as a symptom of caring. My generation cares, a lot. We care about politics and the potential to good with it. We care about oppression and inequality. On Tuesday, many of my generation (not all, I understand), watched in horror as a man who has consistently espoused violence, sexism, racism, homophobia, and fear win the presidency. Many reporters focused in on pictures of Clinton supporters crying in the wake of her loss, proclaiming how weak we all were because we can't handle the result of a presidential election. We aren't just throwing a temper tantrum. We aren't just being whiny. We are reacting because we are scared for our friends and family and futures. We are reacting because we care deeply about our country.
Author John Green said it best when he said "The good times and the bad times both will pass. It will pass. It will get easier. But the fact that it will get easier does not mean that it doesn't hurt now. And when people try to minimize your pain they are doing you a disservice. And when you try to minimize your pain you are doing yourself a disservice. Don't do that. The truth hurts because it's real. It hurts because it mattered."
We also aren't the first generation to be dissatisfied with the results of an election. Donald Trump himself advocated for a march on Washington after the reelection of Barack Obama in 2012.
People have protested Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, JFK, and dozens of other presidents. It's kind of a natural reaction when half the country (or nearly half) feels incredibly dissatisfied with the results of a presidential election. The protests in the wake of Donald Trump's election are not new, nor are they limited to the millennial generation. We are also not the only generation opposed to his presidency. So stop blaming these protests on weak-minded millennials. Protests are a protected right in the Constitution. They serve as an avenue to express dissatisfaction and to hold the government to a higher standard. That's what the anti-Trump protestors are doing right now. They are protesting because they are channeling the fear and sadness they feel into something constructive.
My generation is scared because we care about our country a great deal. We care about our friends and family and the future of the United States and its citizens. We care about the good that we can do, and are saddened and frightened by the direction the country is heading. Don't try to discredit us as coddled or weak because we care about the election or the feelings of those around us. Caring isn't a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength.