CW: Mentions of discrimination and hate based on identity
Have you ever wished that you were born in a different generation? Ever wished that you could escape the phone addicted era that we reside in?
Surely everyone has, at some point, wished to escape the modern age and get a glimpse at what it might have been like to live in the past.
Even I have thought this at one point, after listening to my mother tell me about a free and exciting childhood in the 1980s. But as Eliza Schuyler told her husband in the hit musical “Hamilton,” “Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”
There’s no place like the present, but thinking about how different life was in Schuyler’s 18th century period to today, there’s no telling how different the future can be for us.
I’ve come to the belief that when people say they wished they were born into a different generation, they don’t often consider what reality was really like in the past.
People might say that they wished they had lived in the 1950s to experience the culture of Elvis fanfare and poodle skirts, but can easily look past the injustices and bigotry that minorities faced.
The persistent fight for equal civil rights brought an influx of racial violence to Black Americans. The 1950s, and other decades, continue to be idolized when the time period was only good for white people.
The 1980s and '90s are often looked upon with great nostalgia by the generation that experienced it. While today’s millennials and Gen X look back on a memorable childhood, others look back in fear at the hate they faced.
Throughout the '80s, hate and violence against people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community was on the rise, in coordination with the rise of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
People were risking their lives everyday just to express who they really were. I don’t think we should be wishing to go back to times like that.
In all of my words, I am in no way saying that life is great for everyone right now. Some people are going through the worst of the worst. Here are some things that almost all Americans are affected by:
The United States’ democracy is backsliding. In a 2021 annual report from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, for the first time, the United States was added to a list of democracies that show significant signs of a weakened democracy and/or signs of rising authoritarianism.
Climate change is catching up to us and soon we won’t have anywhere to hide. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed that global commitments to lowering greenhouse gasses are still not ambitious enough to maintain a stable environment.
Gun violence continues to plague our society while lawmakers are stagnant on solutions. According to Pew Research Center, 45,222 Americans died in 2020 from guns alone.
I know how pessimistic I sound about this, but I find it important to seek out the truth about our society. If we don’t, we won’t have the knowledge to solve these problems and make progress toward a better future.
So here’s to progress, and the hope that in better days, my children's children can look back and never have to wish that they were back in the 2020s.
Jenelle Baumbach (she/her) is a city news reporter at The Front. She studies political science and news/editorial journalism.
You can contact her at email@example.com.