It was a cool night in Ithaca, New York, a few hours before Thanksgiving break. Students enjoyed the pause in academic stress by flooding Cornell’s streets and bars with crowds and music that could be heard blocks away from where it was being played. Far past midnight, delirious from an evening of drinking, Anna, a junior business administration major at Cornell University, walked from a frat party to a Collegetown bar with her group of friends.
Biologically speaking, humans are no more evolved than they were. Sure, we were born in a time where we have a more advanced understanding of the natural world, but that knowledge isn’t an inherent biological fact. If any modern infant were transported back 200,000 years, they would only be as knowledgeable as their society permitted.
I am working at the Rockaway beaches, located at the southeast tip of Brooklyn where the borough meets the Atlantic. To my right are the barrier island’s plant-speckled dunes that roll gracefully until they hit pavement. To my left is the clear water of the Atlantic lapping against the trash-ridden sand. However, I am not here to pick up trash, I am here for what is before me: the nesting site of the critically threatened piping plover.
For the right, centrism sounds like compromising with the quasi-communist left. For the left, it sounds like complying with the racist, sexist superstructure. But the solutions to our most pressing problems sample from both right-wing and left-wing politics.
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.” Ginsberg had no idea how prophetic that line would become in a few short decades. I look at an entire room full of people unwilling to think beyond their life in high school, looping the same brainless thoughts ad infinitum — and there he is again. When social media posts alternate between adventurous joy and crushing depression brought on by real life, I know Ginsberg was right. Millennials have descended into a new kind of insanity amidst the pulls of technology, social media and other contagious anxieties.
The democratic process has divided us further on partisan lines, leaving our generation jaded by an allegedly democratic process. No matter how hard they pushed for Clinton or Sanders, or even Stein, their efforts were outmatched by the zeal and fervor of millions of disenfranchised blue-collar workers rallying behind Trump. Many of those anxious young people will spend the next four years in indignant protest, trying to unite and support each other. Those ideas are too idealistic for my tastes.