This demographic saw no difference between Clinton and Trump and disengaged after the DNC sunk Bernie who, once observed that the revolution is a long time coming. He was right, but come it will, as the Baby Boomers pass through the Python, however reluctantly.
This is not to say that Gen-Xers haven’t got a sense of humor, even if they’ve read Nietzsche and lived their lives like Kerouac. The Internet is full of memes mocking the election and bumper stickers for the next one, like “Hindsight is 20-20” and “Science is not a Liberal Conspiracy,” have started to appear on junker bumpers. They’ve expressed a resignation to Trump’s election that is equal parts resignation and resolution. Their take on the election can be summarized by the advice given by one Gen-X member to a millennial mother with a four-year-old daughter.
The young Mother had shared that her daughter, and other little girls, too, had been traumatized by Donald Trump’s election and were worried for their safety. This, in part, because of the new Leader’s highly publicized, improvident, speech on a party bus festooned with a Verizon ad and the word “Hollywood.” The Gen-Xer told the mother she should inform her daughter “The Empire may have won, for now, but there, always, will be Jedi to fight against it for you.” The Mother reported back that her daughter’s mood had brightened, considerably, at this news that she was cheered by girl’s response, “Yes, Mommy, there are still Jedi to protect us.”
The current political parties are at even greater risk than they presently perceive if they don’t look beyond this election and consider the changing American demographic. The future is split between Gen-Xers and the Millennials. Gen-Xers, born in the late ‘70’s and ‘80’s, grew up with The Breakfast Club. For many of its members it was not uncommon to have spent as much time in detention as in the classroom. Their experience was shaped by the early losses of Biggie, Tupac, and Kurt Cobain. Shootings at McDonald’s ruined Happy Meals for them and Green Day, Rancid, and Metallica sang their anthems.
Generation X is used to disappointment. In Oliver Stone’s Wall Street 2, Money Never Sleeps, they are the Ninja Generation that has No Income, No Job, and No Assets. They are survivors of a culture war that has raged since the 1960’s and are unfazed by either Trump or Clinton. Many of them are penniless but are world travelers and self-taught Internet scholars who have been self-sufficient since the late ‘90’s. None of them got a Little League trophies just for showing up. They don’t believe in winners, or losers, and would, rather, laugh politics off, go back to work, and plan the revolution on weekends.
Gen-Xers are still sipping wine during reruns of The Walking Dead on Netflix, or sure, and haven’t stopped preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse. They derive smug satisfaction from observing both Democrats and Republicans throw shade at one another because they thought this election mattered. Political nihilists, they voted for Bernie Sanders because they saw what was coming and, now, snicker at the partisan drama that’s unfolding. His, and the Democrat’s loss, is not an obsession, however, because they’re too busy at work, even if it’s under-employment, or participation in underground economies due to crushing student debt.
The Millennials, on the other hand, those born roughly in the ‘90’s, are baying louder than caged hounds and can’t understand how they lost the election. Every one of them is a personal prizewinner and unaccustomed to loss. Their intrinsic worth has insulated them from disappointment, just as it has insured them a spot on their parents’ couches.
Millennials say they’re are planning on emigrating to Canada, or Ireland, because of Trump but don’t have a credit card, or cash, to buy the tickets. In any case, their jobs at the coffee shop, or mall, won’t give them enough time enough off to plan how to flee the dreaded Republican Guard. They believed the world was theirs, all poised and ready to fall into their laps like a ripe apple. Their only student loans were for bar tabs and Kambucha. The generation is not lost, entirely, however, because it’s starting to take survival skill courses from Gen-Xers.
Generation X, especially on the Left Coast, expects two things to come out of this election cycle, and the resultant Trump Presidency. The first is a whole lot of good, old fashioned, anti-government Punk Rock, and second, some bitchin’ Gagsta Rap about the virtues of hustling. They didn’t, really, like big rims, auto-tune, and pop music, microeconomics is real, and Miley Cyrus never rocked their boat.
Four years from now Millennials will have learned, like Gen-Xers, that the best medicine for getting knocked down is to get up and soldier on. Xers grew up in divorced households and are products of broken families. “Mommy and Daddy are fighting so it must be Wednesday” was the norm, rather than the exception.
Xs are reviving lost skills, creating their own art forms, building tiny houses, and reducing their carbon footprints. They expect the world to end and are operating on contingency, alone. Meanwhile, Millennials are just now learning how to use plastic utensils with their paper plates instead of Mommy’s silver spoons and are looking to X-ers for guidance. The Millennial’s Vampires may still sparkle but, soon, like those familiar to Gen-Xers, they will resemble Lestat.
This is the future. Love it or leave it.