Why Millenials Rejected Obama

Youth culture has become the dominant popular culture upon which most of Western society fixates. Technology has created virtual public spaces thus increasing popular culture’s perceived ubiquity. Any object or totem that can successfully package itself as "novel" acts as a metallic fishing lure.  Often within hours the object is existentially justified as "popular" because it appears to be "popular", creating a feedback-loop. 

Our accelerating obsession with youth culture is symptomatic of a secularized society unequipped to cope with mortality. The regeneration of every ephemeral pursuit promises a new distraction. In addition to entertainment, we embrace the social signals that we believe that object will confer onto our public identity or “personal brand”; a thin sticker to peel and place on our chest for others to see.  Millenials are a generation who have taken a Madison Avenue maxim and turned it into a creed; “Perception is Everything”.

The proverbial cultural landfill is brimming with exercise videos, political slogans, actors, electronics, game consoles, makeup, car parts, t-shirts, gourmet-fads, and compact discs; the ego’s excrement. And so this week, certain politicians find themselves in a pile of collective detritus half covered by an NBA poster and a ‘War on Women’ bumper sticker. A proverbial dump truck backs in to drop two tons of Gaga, old iPods and reality-shows on top of it. [beep, beep, beep]

 In the absence of higher cultural values, rudderless citizens have a tendency to conflate their own self-worth with surface-level choices such as sports teams, health trends, pop-music, and platitudes of every stripe. A secularized society has vested so much of themselves into low-hanging cultural signposts that to critically evaluate culture is increasingly "a hate crime". Our prejudice against prejudice has matured into oppression.

Millennials have a galaxy of information at their fingertips and yet it turns out, as a mathematical reality, more options means more difficulty in prioritizing the valuable ones. An idling computer alone represents access to billions of pieces of data but the scarcity of time has not changed. Furthermore, the more valuable a cultural choice, the less it appeals to immediate sensory stimulation or ego patronage.  Our predecessors tacitly understood that this “transcendence” was what separated us from the animal world. Even though the physical world could not be transcended in this life, no matter how high we elevate our culture, the act of "ever-trying" was piety itself. Millenials are not merely satisfied with allowing room for relaxing visceral entertainment, they require that we view those choices as "equal"; an act of ego protection no doubt. 

Economists will recognize this as the ratio of “risk” and “reward”. You defer the immediate sensory gratification of flipping through pictures of “cats in costumes” and instead invest in studying Tocqueville or Bach. Millenials wish to view all choices as options sitting in a vending machine. Our choice is based off of what the packaging purports to do for us “here” and “now”. Press B6 for Socrates or C10 for Gangnam Style. Millenials’ attitudes are the result of general prosperity and low birth rates; infantilized adults believing they are "intellectuals" by 18 yet have not earned nothing. It's intoxicating to believe that using a touch-pad while sitting on your couch precludes you from the same fate as your predecessors. How anesthetizing to disconnect one's ego from the responsibilities and achievements of history! To cast the Founders as "Otherness", as if we won't end up in the same single-sentence byline 2000 years from now.

 As an avid hiker I have developed a saying:

“Of those strangers I meet on a mountain’s summit, I do not know much, other than they did not get there by accident.”

This is why I eschew the “I voted” stickers and Facebook badges that make their rounds on Election Day. If you were so apathetic or distracted that a sticker was the impetus for you to make far-reaching decision, then you probably don’t share my values. Hmmm… the “I voted” sticker… what an opportune example of what we’ve been articulating thus far; a distracting social signpost that essentially communicates nothing other than to confer cheap altruism on its wearer.   

The situation is cyclical. The millions who invest their fleeting lives into surface level distractions also have a vested interest in protecting their own ego. Thus the only true sin under the “dictatorship of relativism” is to recognize that The King Has No Clothes.

To millenials Obama is merely sticker whose surface is no longer distracting. Sitting in the dumping grounds of good intentions is a smelly balled-up diaper that reads "Hope & Change 2008" on the rear. [beep, beep, beep].

"Hey,Joe what do you want me to do with all this Hope & Change?"

"I dunno, go park it by the incinerator, let's go grab a sandwich"

Obama is a 20-watt bulb who uncorked the tired swill of collectivist-utopia for a generation that lacked the perspective and maturity to contextualize it… but that is not why he’s become unpopular with Millenials.

Instead Millenials have turned away from Obama because his kitsch has grown tired; he no longer distracts us and that's intolerable. We have spent the pittance of visceral sentimentality and embracing the Obama badge no longer projects cheap altruism onto our “personal brand”. We are left with an empty totem that is neither "novel" nor "nostalgic" (comes from the Greek word for Homesickness).  The Obama brand was projected and received as a piece of art whose legacy can be summed up in 3 meaningless words "He was black".

Dissenting voices should not take Obama's abandonment as a sign that Millenials have embraced the higher values of industriousness, self-determination, tradition, responsibility, and the American Enlightenment. On the contrary, in true Millennial fashion most stayed home, disillusioned with politics they are seeking out other distractions. In the meantime utopianism will need to find a novel coat of paint in order to represent itself to Generation Z. It's ironic that a culture obsessed with newness leverages the tastes of youth who are in the weakest position to define what is "new" or "progressive" since they have the shallowest wells upon which to draw.

Millenials are an infantilized generation. Our commercials are set to toddler-like xylophone/guitar melodies. Our applications are dressed in sophomoric imagery "smiley suns" and "frowning rain clouds". Even our signage is soft bubbly and maternal; banal niceties that in decades-past would have been more befitting of a nursery. The lower-case ‘f’ on Facebook is “cute” and the soft-blue Twitter bird is iconography out of a potty-training book. Perhaps language itself will be deemed too "disruptive" and "counter-current" to our pleasures in which case we can communicate with sentimental shapes and tears. 

My younger brother asked me why Drudge Report and American Thinker appear so atavistic compared to other contemporary sites. I replied, "Its because the value is in the ideas". Isn't there something refreshing about the understated design of American Thinker? Like its peers, it fails to pander to novel sentimentality. It only bequeaths its rewards to those willing to think!   

Sometimes I feel as though I am slamming on the doors of the preschool saying "let me out" and in unison the collective says "that's not very nice." Perhaps it is already “The Brave New World” wrought with “feelies” and Soma drug (pot?) to anesthetize a generation fixated on its own reflection.

Millenials are adult children lying in a crib looking upward with etch-a-sketch minds as a digital mobile slowly revolves for our sensory pleasure. If it doesn’t make us feel good “here” and “now” we’ll throw it out of our crib.

 And so on 11/4/14, the stuffed-animal ended up on the nursery floor.