Valli Challa" />
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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Matching activeness, effectiveness of previous decades

The teenage and young adult years are the age of innocence to many people. When it’s coupled with anger, violence, protest and demand, the outcome changes drastically too.

Usually, we are taught values at a very young age by our parents, guardians or caretakers. For some it is a belief in God, for other it is a belief in hard work and for others it is service to their country. Very often, questioning belief starts at one’s inability to deal with the unexpected, radical circumstances in which we find ourselves.

It’s doubtful people imagined what started in the ’60s as a cultural windstorm would mean cultural changes in the following decades.

War protests ensured President Lyndon B. Johnson didn’t run for the second term; Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War’” and many other raconteurs inspired a generation of musicians in ways unknown; the women’s liberation movement and the protests against discrimination ensured we have equal employment opportunity policies at workplaces.

Tragically, even losing cultural icons like President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. ensured better security features and ways to protect our icons, inspirational figures and celebrities.

If one were to fast forward 30 years from today, there may be a few particular things that would sum up the current and previous decade: Apple products sweeping the nation, 9/11, the genres of hip-hop and electronic music storming the younger generations, electronic cars, junk food, gadgets, Facebook and automated machines taking over many jobs that people sweat over.

So if we were to do anything with history as a precedent, one might say we have complete responsibility for shaping and changing the next decades with either a spark of an idea or splurge of a protest.

“Change” is a value added term ever since it became a part of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. The inspiration and motivation to change is most evident through the digital revolutions like the 2011 Facebook Egyptian revolution and Hong Kong protests of 2014.

Often the most inspirational moments come from understanding what resonates most with our belief system — to turn it into a cause. Perhaps, that’s why the most chaotic incidents and protests resonate so much with people at a very emotional level for them to believe in to as well and endorse it in return.

One of the most inspirational movies one could quote in this bracket is “World’s Fastest Indian” and the Iraqi veterans walking across United States to raise heal and raise money.

What this generation might need is not just the motivation and inspiration to change the world for a better place in the coming decades, but also to preserve its innocence in the fast-changing world where humans are competing with artificial intelligence for many jobs. Only if we look for inspiration in the right places, perhaps.

Biology and French language senior Dustin Philips said that he thinks about Occupy Wall Street when asked if this current generation is motivated and inspired enough.

“Part of the problem is people always look for inspiration in the wrong places,” Philips said. “Instead of falling back on their families or support structures, they look up to celebrities, talking heads, media personalities and therein lies the gap.”

Opinion columnist Valli Challa is a law graduate student and may be reached at [email protected].


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