to the 13th generation of Americans: There are almost
80 million of us born between 1961 and 1981. We are the
13th generation of Americans since the founding of our
country. We are the most racially and socially diverse
generation in American history; yet despite the diversity
that sometimes divides us, many common experiences do
are the first generation to talk by computer, the first
to pass through metal detectors to enter school. We have
the lowest job skills of any recent group of Americans.
We are the product of more divorces and have a higher
percentage in prison than any generation before us....
many of us are grateful to live in America,
we recognize and worry about the fact that our future
has been sold out. Our political leaders have run up tremendous
debts--economic, social, and environmental burdens that
our generation and generations to come must confront.
Now, on the edge of a new millennium, our generation has
the difficult task of beginning the great American cleanup....
the past 200 years, each generation of Americans has had
its unique calling: breaking free of England,
ending slavery, providing a safety net during the Great
Depression, defeating the Nazis, gaining women's equality,
and winning civil rights for millions. Today,' however, there is no easily identifiable enemy--no Hitler,
King George, or Depression-era Dust Bowl. Today the enemy
is us: a nation unwilling to stop living for the present
at the expense of the future....
generation's mission may seem less heroic than other battles,
but it is just as vital: We must lay aside our cynicism,
get off our butts, and take a stand for our common future.
with permission from the introduction of
X: A Survival Guide for Our Generation
, by Rob Nelson
and Jon Cowan, 1994,
: Penguin Books
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