The meme generation

First it was the baby-boomers, known as the Me Generation. Then it was the apathetic slackers, or Generation X. Then, the competitive offspring of the baby boomers, Generation Y or the Millenials. Now, apparently, today's twenty-somethings are being called the "Entitlement Generation." 

They have "shockingly high expectations for salary, job flexibility and duties but little willingness to take on grunt work or remain loyal to a company," according to an AP news report .

In other words, they want it all, but they don't want to work for it. Looking at these labels, it would seem that Americans are getting more self-centered and less involved in society at large. But the people who have been coming up with these labels -- often marketers hired by industries that view young people as favored consumers -- are interested in creating this image. After all, people who are entitled probably buy lots of stuff for themselves. They feel entitled to nice clothing, cars and gadgets. It wouldn't be any good if there were another politically sensitive, peace-loving generation, would it? They wouldn't buy anything.

But the voter turnout at the last presidential election suggests a different reality. Young voters ages 18 to 24 actually turned out at their highest level in more than a decade. Last  year's election saw a 6 percent jump in voters ages 18 to 24 compared with 2000. In addition, this age range of voters showed the strongest support for Kerry -- 56 percent of young people supported Kerry compared with 48 percent overall. So the new generation may feel more entitled...but not enough to vote Republican.

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