Connor Kilpatrick serves up a masterpiece of the intergenerational warfare genre, and I am loving it. This is why you need to vote, young people. The teabaggers understand perfectly well that our economic interests are not aligned, and they vote in every election. Our generation is numerically larger, and we can overpower them if we start showing up:
And now, with the spread of broadband Internet, Boomers have opened up a new front: the decade-long crusade on filesharing. No more coddling us with “Don’t Copy that Floppy!”. Take the case of Hana Beshara, proprietor of the dearly departed link sharing video website NinjaVideo. SWATed up Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stormed into her home last year and now–just a couple of weeks ago–she was sentenced to 22 months in prison and fined over $200,000 in restitution to her “victim,” the Motion Picture Association of America. Or there’s Aaron Swartz of Reddit, charged with the crime of attempting to create a database of academic papers and reports–largely the work of unpaid graduate student labor in the first place. He faces up to 35 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. Or Joel Tenenbaum, the kid who’s being sued for $4.5 million for sharing a handful of Nirvana mp3s. Remember that video of Texas Judge William Adams viciously beating his teenaged daughter? He claimed that it was her Internet downloads that set him off. Just a little “discipline,” he said, after “she was caught stealing.”
Which is why I love the Tea Party so much. They don’t dick around about any of this. It’s a full-scale generational war they’re after. Sociologist Theda Skocpol’s The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism devotes a good chunk to understanding the generational warrior inherent in Tea Party politics. Skocpol refers to the clash as “the ‘grey’ versus ‘brown’ divide.” Grey meaning the old white people who dominate all of our political and economic institutions, and brown meaning the young, most racially diverse generation in the history of this country: ours.
Grey versus brown is “a tension that superimposes divisions by age and experience, income, and ethnicity…the Tea Party is very much a reaction by older white conservative Americans who resent and fear what they think might be the political accompaniments of a nation transformed by rising younger cohorts with different experiences, values, and social characteristics.”
Fittingly, the Tea Partiers have chosen the Ryan Budget as their very own spiritual lodestar–the Port Huron Statement of the old, white and reactionary. The Ryan Budget–and the GOP campaign around it–divides the American populace into “those who are 55 or older now, and those who are younger.” Meaning Boomers will receive Medicare and Social Security checks unchanged, whereas Millennials get the axe–despite the fact that many of us have been paying into these programs for the past 15 years. Let the record show that it was they who fired the first shot.