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Many people are saying millenials are putting industries down. But is any of it true? Buzz60's Mercer Morrison has the story. Buzz60

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The local radio disc jockey related some statistics about texting while driving between songs on a recent weekday.

Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, were the most likely to text while driving, but all age groups admitted to the dangerous practice.

The DJ closed the bit by saying, “Damn millennials.”

I doubt the DJ meant any true malice, but there sure does seem to be a lot of fist-shaking, finger-pointing and general rage and anguish directed at millennials.

Maybe there is no more generational criticism today than there ever was. Some Vietnam War and Korean War veterans I know talk about how the public ignores or forgets their service while heaping praise on World War II veterans.

I remember feeling as if baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, forced their culture upon Gen-Xers, my generation, born between 1965 and 1980.

They wouldn’t stop talking about their student activism and how the Beatles were the best band ever.

I eventually came around on the Beatles.

As for student activism, well, at the height of demonstrations nationwide, Richard Nixon was elected twice, the second time in a landslide over George McGovern, possibly the kindest man to ever seek the nation’s highest office.

History keeps score, and student activists were 0-for-2.

Millennials, though, seem to be the favorite punching bag of everyone. The collective wisdom is they were ruined by play dates and participation trophies.

That’s silly. When I was a boy living on Lynner Drive in Des Moines, our neighborhood was made up of mostly older families, and there weren’t many kids my age around.

So, my parents enrolled me in a child care center down the street from our house where my sister worked.

My mom didn’t work outside the home, but they thought it was a good idea for me to socialize with kids my own age.

They didn’t call it that, but this was a play date.

As for participation trophies, what do those folks who run races on the streets during the spring and fall call all those medals they get for finishing?

Feels like a participation trophy that you can hang around your neck.

I got participation ribbons and trophies when I was a boy. I never confused the participation trophy I got from the Salvation Army youth basketball league with an NBA championship.

Social media favors snark over substance. Thus, it becomes easy to portray millennials as soft and overrun by political correctness until it becomes a canard.

If you frame the dreaded political correctness differently, one might simply call it exercising good manners by not going out of your way to offend another human with your actions and language.

The word “snowflake” is one of the kinder terms used to describe millennials. I’ve seen T-shirts with the phrase, “You are not special.”

They’re being chastised for having feelings and telling people when they’re hurt. What monsters have we wrought? People so in touch their feelings that they’re comfortable talking about them? The horror. 

Mainly what bothers me about the anti-millennial furor is that it’s all so angry. I don’t understand it.

I work with a lot of millennials and people younger. Some go to church. Some have families. Some enjoy a beer with co-workers or a live music concert.

How could anyone relate to such strange customs?

I’m reminded of a song that was popular when I was a boy, “The Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics.

There’s a lyric that goes, “Every generation blames the one before.”

I think songwriters Mike Rutherford and B.A. Robertson might have missed the mark.

It seems to me every generation blames the one after.

That’s a shame. Because regardless of when you were born, you are human. And humans all need and deserve love, dignity and respect.

Register Storyteller Daniel P. Finney grew up in Winterset and east Des Moines. He wrote his first story for the Register in 1993 at age 17. He has stacked paragraphs ever since. Reach him at 515-284-8144 or dafinney@dmreg.com. Follow him on Twitter at @newsmanone or Facebook at @danielpfinney.

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Read or Share this story: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/2019/08/23/damn-millennials-stop-blaming-this-generation-for-everything-iowa-salvation-army-beatles-gen-x-wwii/2090670001/