Like most people in their 20s, I often forget how much I have to learn. Self-absorption and arrogance pollute my generation and prevent many of us from seeing anything beyond ourselves.
Of course, without ever having been asked, we’ll be sure to inform you that we’re the most global-oriented, tech-savvy generation. We’ll brag about our social-networking skills, and our ability to use really big words even may distract you from the deterioration of our grammar brought on by text-message and Internet speak.
Only a handful of us still read newspapers and magazines, but most of us stay up-to-date with the world’s affairs through Facebook updates and blogs. We may not take the time to find all the facts, but we almost always have an opinion to share.
Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk politics with two men who came a couple of generations before me. One was my husband’s grandfather, Larry, and the other his friend, Cleo. We exchanged opinions on illegal immigration, our country’s involvement in foreign affairs, the death of Osama bin Laden and the state of our economy.
I quickly was reminded that I prefer talking politics with people who still value face-to-face interaction. While similar conversations I’d had with peers were stimulating, the constant citation of web sources and Tweet-like exchange takes a lot away from the debate experience.
What mattered about these men is that they actually care about their nation. While many of my generation would be perfectly content to just leave the country if things get too rough here, these men care about the welfare of their home, and not just for their own sake but for our generation’s, too.
Coming from a generation that’s so fast-paced and socially stunted, it’s refreshing to hear something different — maybe even something better. And while many of their opinions and solutions were a bit extreme for me, their intentions were pure and unselfish. For them, the United States is about us, not about me.
And though the wisest man among us probably would struggle to find solutions to all our world’s problems, it wouldn’t hurt to ask. We’ve stopped considering the experiences in our history and the people who actually lived those experiences, and that’s just too big a mistake to let slide.
Maybe the generations that came before mine aren’t so familiar with Twitter feeds and e-Books, but they know all the words to the national anthem and they still say the pledge of allegiance with pride. To those of us who have dedicated the lives of our families to supporting our country in the military, that should hold great value.