This question may seem mean. But I recently overheard someone say this about their grown unemployed child. I happen to know the “useless” person in question – a college grad who never quite bought into the whole job thing – but a far cry from “useless”. What makes a parent discard the worth and talent of their own children? It seems that the video gaming basement dwellers are not the only ones who are put into this basket these days. I Googled it and was surprised at what I found . . .

If you search online you will find many articles proclaiming Generation X and Y useless – as opposed to the “Greatest Generation” who endured the Great Depression and WWI and II. There are many proposed solutions that range from starting World War III so the useless can have something to do – to penalizing the poor and unemployed to a slow death by disenfranchisement.  What gives? What has happened that now makes people the enemy and places our current paradigm beyond reproach?

Some say it is the media, some say it is human nature, but most seem to believe that people are fundamentally lazy and bad. Where did they learn this perspective? Looking online I find people are crazy clever, engaged, and brave. Many are dumping the current perspective of the “real world” – and have decided to create their own reality and blaze a path rather than be a peg in the machine that accounts them no value. There is a growing counter culture that finds fertile ground in the countless pages of internet art and commentary.

It is easy to miss what is happening with the influx of big established media anxiously devising new ways to feed us our latest perspective. Yes, I believe our opinions are not our own. Surely we are more compassionate than the headlines would make it seem. I don’t know anyone who says they would turn away a fellow human in desperate need of care. Yet this is what we do everyday. It is done indirectly by our daily participation and propping up of activities that collectively creates our society.

This is a society where a child is diagnosed with cancer every 3 minutes, someone dies of starvation every 4 seconds or so, and the physical earth is nearly dead. Is our human spirit dying with it? We build this world by abandoning our families and communities everyday to go out and “work” or get “educated” so we can grow up and be “successful”. I’ve heard this most accurately described as “organized irresponsibility”.

Our world claims to be progressing towards a society that is working towards human freedom above all else – yet does not allot any human beings their most basic birthright. Our birthright is the freedom to build a home on a piece of land, grow our own food, and live in cooperation with our community. Very little seems to have changed from the times of lords and serfs except we call them “banks” and home “owners” now. We are delegated to concrete jungles where we slave to live in a box , buy chemical ridden food, and teach our children that success is how deeply they can get tied to a lifetime of debt, competition and glorified greed.

We are entering a world with rapidly growing inequality not seen since the era of the “Greatest Generation”.   There is nothing you can do about it though … right? Most feel their only recourse is to buy a gun, blame someone else, and elect yet another new leader to captain the same sinking ship. Will we stand up with the courage to suggest something different – something better that we can leave our children? What will it take to get folks to act in a way that gives credence to life and liberty instead of the numbers on Wall Street and the masters that tell us they are the only real thing? 

“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”   Harriet Tubman