We are sorry. We are sorry for failing you. This wasn’t supposed to be your fight and here you are, being the ones to lead because we have not.
We should have done better. We wanted to but life got in the way. We became enamored of ourselves on social media. We got lazy consuming capitalism over true connection. We got distracted binge watching, avoiding FOMO, YOLO-ing and trying to impress other people because we felt insecure. We wanted to tackle important issues, but when we didn’t see enough progress quickly, we became disenchanted. At certain points, we thought we had elected the right people. But that clearly wasn’t enough. It was hard for us to contribute to a cause knowing that we may not see the result in our lifetime.
We really thought we had made progress. We thought we were a better society than we really are. Climate change, school shootings, massive wealth inequality, gentrification, #MeToo, the resurgence of white supremacy, black lives not mattering, families living in their cars even with a full-time jobs, and the election of Donald Trump, show us how far we have to go.
We wanted to be the generation that turned the tide. But we got distracted by convenience. We even praised people as innovators and “disruptors” that simply used technology to provide us more convenience over making a real difference. We wanted to be bold, but things came up. Some of us had families and because the ills of the world seem so daunting, we focused on taking care of what we could control. Some of us dove into our careers thinking maybe if we climbed the ladder, then we could make a difference once we were in positions of power. But we forgot the plan once we got there. Some of us left the grid entirely, choosing to live a nomadic life as a way to avoid consumerism and the lure of capitalism. Some of us embraced the whatever mentality, believing that there was no difference we could make, so why even try? While some of us continue to fight the good fight, only to get burned out, dissatisfied by the amount of progress made and end up becoming jaded.
None of these are valid excuses.
We share this cautionary tale so that you don’t make the same mistakes we made. Ignoring the impact our actions would have in the long term, while selfishly desiring so much short term success. Yes, there are a greedy few ruining the lives of many, but even worse than that is the comfort of convenience that turned our own conviction into complacency. 75 years from now, we are not going to be here, dealing with the repercussions of our actions. You, your kids, and your grand kids will have to deal with our ineptitude, our inaction, and cowardice when it came to making hard choices. By simply choosing to do “what is possible and practical,” instead of striving for what is necessary. So now, we will follow your lead.
We write this, not to be forgiven, but simply to be understood and to communicate that we are still willing to fight. Learn from our mistakes and don’t allow cynicism to consume you as it has us. You have already seen glimpses of the power you possess are and the difference you can make.
Be careful as some of us will praise you in public, only to ignore you privately. We may talk a big game and not deliver when it really matters. Some of us will be your allies and will be willing to fight with you all the way till the end. Some of us will be in positions of power and will have to make the choice between staying on top or doing what is right. Some of us will make the wrong choice, but some of us will do better. We may be one powerful conversation away from being willing to make that sacrifice. As many of us got into this for the right reasons and simply forgot along the way why we are here. You are reminding us of what is possible. Your conviction is what will move the world. Your steadfastness, unwavering stance and moral high ground will drown out our petty squabbles about who might take credit. We are sorry that you have to taken on this burden that you did not create. And we will do what we can to help rectify it.