Can Generation Q, or the Millennials, really change the future?

  1. In Friedman’s article, “Generation Q”, he calls, our generation the “Quiet Americans” because we are, “quietly pursing our idealism at home and abroad” (Friedman). He then says, “But Generation Q may be too quiet, too online, for its own good, and for the country’s own good” (Friedman). How do you feel about this statement? Do you believe that our generation should be nicknamed Generation Q, because we’ve been “too quiet” trying to deal with some of the issues in the world?
  2. Friedman also leads to the point that he believes we could be the solution to a lot of the problems we face in the world today, like the ones he listed, climate change, Social Security, and deficit. He says that in order to do this, “They have to get organized in a way that will force politicians to pay attention rather than just patronize them.” “Activism can only be uploaded, the old-fashioned way — by young voters speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers.” (Friedman). Cameron Russel makes the argument in her article, saying that instead of our generation trying to get the attention of the politicians, it should be Friedman’s. “Perhaps you don’t hear our screams because we gave up long ago on a having a government that listens to citizens, or on the ability of that government to take on big business by kicking it out of the bed. Friedman should be shouting at his own generation.” (Russel).Do you think if our generation decides to speak up it will actually make any difference, or will these politicians still try to roll right over us, since we are already known as too young and too quiet? Whose opinion would you agree with more, Russel’s or Friedman’s?
  3.  In Cameron Russel’s article, ” Your Generation of Hypocrisy Begat my Apathetic one”, she seems to disagree with the views brought up in Friedman’s article. She says, “These articles (15 thousand Google hits on “Gen Y apathetic”) usually miss the essential characteristics of our generation because the writers can’t seem to imagine the world from our perspective.” (Russell). Does how “privileged and advanced” our generation is said to be really impact older generations from seeing how we perceive the world and it’s issues today?
  4. Friedman says that our generation is “too online” and that none of our problems can be fixed this way. However Russel argues about how beneficial being online can actually be. “Meanwhile, let us figure out how we can use these tools that enable mass distribution and organization of ideas. It’s likely that these will be the tools we need.” (Russel). Do you agree that being in an online world now may actually be a tool we may be able to use later, or do you think we should take a more physical approach?


Big Words:

  1. hegemony: political, economic, or military predominance or leadership, esp. by one member of a confederacy or unionizer other states
  2. accrued: accumulated or increased by growth; (esp. of interest, leave) built up over time
  3. subsidy: a tax levied on imports and exports, the income from which was granted by parliament to the sovereign to meet particular needs; a sum of money raised by this tax

Are the Millennials really to blame?


Our Generation has a reputation from some people of preceding generations as being lazy. Or as Thomas L. Friendman likes to describe us – the Quiet Americans, who quietly pursue our idealism at home and abroad. Throughout Friendman’s article, he argues that our generation is not being proactive to the serious issues that will greatly affect our lives’ as we grow older, and we will be in a huge predicament if we continue to do nothing. However, is our generation really able to make a difference in solving these issues? He goes on to argue if we are politically active in these issues, we are only active online. If we can make a difference, should we use technology to our advantage to help the issues at hand? Or should we make a change face-to-face, as Friendman encourages us to?

In many of these issues that our country is facing, the damage has already been done from preceding generations. Cameron Russell argues that we have already inherited this world on the brink of collapse. In Russell’s article, he argues that global warming, which may be one of our generation’s biggest problems, needs to be assessed very soon or it will be too late. Global warming is an issue for our government today. Older generations have “enjoyed the lowest energy costs in the world and failed to consider the costs of carbon emissions that made risks to the environment and the economy” (Pomeroy, Hanake). These damages that they have caused will most likely not come into effect, or atleast to its extreme, during the current government official’s lifetime. However, the damages will greatly affect us during our lifetime. Do our candidates and government officials sincerely care about an issue if it will not be affecting their lives?

Also, as a result of the older generations, us millenials “are poorer, more indebted, and less employed than generations before” (Pomeroy, Hanake). This is caused from The Great Recession. Older generations decided to make short-term adjustments, which resulted in making bigger issues in the long-run for our generation. Ross Pomeroy and William Hanke argue our current legislators are the most unproductive and are re-elected more often than not. Yet, they bash us for not making a difference. Are the older generations hypocrites by telling us to make a change when they are the ones with the power to do so? How can our generation make the current legislators focus on the issues that will affect us?

Big Words:

  1. Epitomized- condensed, summarized, abridged
  2. Insurmountable- cannot be overcome or passed over
  3. Calamity- a grievous disaster, an event or circumstance causing loss or misery

Older Generations vs. Millennials: Can ‘having your head in the clouds’ be the future?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Thomas Friedman referred to our generation as being very impressive but says that we need to, “get organized in a way that will force politicians to pay attention” (Friedman). Cameron Russell then counters this argument by saying that our generation is in fact getting organized, however this organization is just taking place on the internet. He also says that there is a, “deafening roar in cyberspace” and that saying our generation is “too quiet” and “too online is the opinion of someone who doesn’t understand what it means to be online” (Russell). Both writers have valid points but cannot reach an agreement on the issue. Is there a way to combine both of the writers ideas to create a solution superior to just getting organized in person or just getting organized online? if so, how? and how do you think the authors would respond to this solution?
  2. In Pomeroy and Handke’s article, our generation has been described as, “a lazy cohort of entitled and narcissistic brats” (Pomeroy/Handke). With this description in mind, also note that our generation is poorer, more indebted and less employed than the generations preceding us. If this is really the case, then how did out generation get such a bad reputation? Do you think this is deserved? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think that in today’s world, Friedman’s idea of our generation, “speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall” (Friedman), will solve the problem? Or is it unrealistic to think this problem can be solved without the use of technology?
  4. The last line of Friedman’s article reads, “That is what real activism looks like. There is no substitute.” (Friedman). By that he is referring to the James Meredith statue at the University of Mississippi. Do you agree with his thought that actions, similar to the ones taken by James Meredith, are the only kinds of action that promote activism? Or, is there other ways?
  5. Do you think its fair for older generations to hold us accountable for cleaning up the mess they left over decades, especially when they are seemingly expecting us to do it so quickly?
  6. If the economy has been being, more or less, crippled by our parent’s and grandparent’s generations and even generations before that, then is it even realistic to think our generation can fix it in our lifetime alone? About how long do you think it will take?


  • Gluttonous-Excessively greedy or insatiable
  • Stymied-To impede, obstruct, frustrate, thwart (a person, an activity, or a project).
  • Accrued-Accumulated or increased by growth; (esp. of interest, leave) built up over time.
  • Eschew-To avoid, shun.