Millennials, am I right? With their lousy work ethic and their poor planning and their entitled attitudes and their student loans and their avocado toast. They're the worst generation; can I get an amen?
Actually, hold that thought, and with it the insane generalizations of about 73 million of our fellow Americans. Let's take this moment instead, to hammer the last nail in that metaphorical coffin, courtesy of retired Admiral Bill McRaven.
McRaven is not a Millennial. He's 63, in fact, and a former Navy SEAL. In descending order he's best known for three things:
- He gave the "Make Your Bed" speech that went viral at the University of Texas graduation in 2014 and later wrote a bestselling book by the same name.
- He was the Navy SEAL commander in charge of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2012.
- He was the decorated SEAL who asked President Trump to revoke his own security clearance--in protest, after Trump revoked the security clearances of several Obama-era officials who criticized him.
McRaven has a new book out--Sea Stories--and he's making the rounds to promote it. In an interview with CBS This Morning, brand new host Tony Dokoupil asked about the soldiers and sailors he served with in Afghanistan--specifically Millennials, whose reputation is "not known for rigor and courage overall."
McRaven was having none of it.
"I am probably the biggest fan of the Millennials you'll ever meet," McRaven said. "[Critics] talk about Millennials being soft and pampered and entitled, well I'm quick to say, then you've never seen them in a firefight in Afghanistan."
"This is a fabulous generation and anybody that worries about the future of the U.S., I don't think you need to worry," he added. (hat tip Task & Purpose)
"They talk about millennials being soft and pampered and entitled, well I'm quick to say then you've seen them in a firefight in Afghanistan... this is a fabulous generation and anybody that worries about the future of the U.S., I don't think you need to worry." --Admiral McRaven pic.twitter.com/c0svThtz8x-- #CTM (@CBSThisMorning) May 20, 2019
Here's your amen. I'm a card-carrying member of Generation X (a.k.a. the previous generation that was maligned for supposedly being aimless and apathetic before going on to improve the world in ways nobody imagined before).
I've also had the pleasure of writing about some of these Millennial veterans, including an entire book about the West Point class of 2002--mostly born in 1980, and thus part of the first wave of Millennials in the military.
My take is the same as McRaven's: If you ever had to be in a tough situation, you'd feel good about having these men and women by your side.
And while there's a time-honored tradition of Americans bemoaning the generations that come after us, it seems like now's a pretty good time to agree collectively that it's time to stop picking on Millennials.
Oh, and apropos of nothing: Anybody know any good Gen-Z jokes?