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obama generation (op-ed) - groove korea - february 20090001

obama generation (op-ed) - groove korea - february 20090001

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Published by: ExpatJane on Feb 03, 2009
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05/10/2014

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Until recently, my generation had no great unifying cause or challenge. The generations before us always seems to have some unifying event whether that was a war or a huge economic challenge. My generation was eclipsed by the Baby Boom generation. They were the history making hippies, the peace protesters, Civil Rights activists, Vietnam vets and the feminists. They had the cool 60s Motown sound and rock music. They were the corporate working girls (and guys) with power suits and Reeboks. They pursued and achieved that American dream that says we're all destined to be better off than our parents.
In contrast, my generation was dubbed Generation X. What on earth does that mean'? I heard that term when I was in college, but I still don't really know what that means. I do, however, know the age group it identifies because I'm part of it. Why are we merely Gen X'? I think it might be because we have had no great challenge to unify us and, therefore, nothing to really stand for. We've been labeled a self-centered and fickle group. While we are more educated than our parents, we're the generation that has reversed the trend of American generations being better off than their parents. Until recently, we didn't have a great war and we lived in relative economic bliss when compared to those who came before us. However, after eight years of an administration that will probably go down in history as one of the worst in American history, we now have that great war, the war on terror, and we're facing the greatest economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Now we finally have both a unifying cause and a huge challenge. The question is how will we meet them'? Obama started off his inauguration speech with these somber facts, "That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes

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I've seen the results of that responsibility, sacrifice and optimism even here in South Korea. Of course, Koreans were instrumental in their development as was the help of many other countries.

have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet." Thanks President Buzz Kill! However, I can't blame him for speaking the truth on such a historic day. It sets the stage for how he'll govern. His speech was somber but for good reason. These challenges are serious and this is the first time I've felt a clarion call for my generation to unite. When you study UShistory you see eras where Americans faced both international and domestic challenges and bonded together, even when they didn't agree, to achieve a goal. Obama's inauguration speech tapped into that history. He sent out the call for responsibility and sacrifice. He tethered that call to the history we share by being citizens of such a young and dynamic country. In addition to a call for responsibility and sacrifice, Obama's inauguration speech tapped into a feeling of optimism. Not only that, it tapped into a spirit that is very American. That spirit has always been one that dared to make the impossible possible. I've seen the results of that responsibility, sacrifice and optimism even here in South Korea. Of course, Koreans were instrumental in their development as was the help of many other countries. However, America's involvement was key. I've had the chance to meet US veterans who come back and marvel at the changes. I've seen monuments to fallen soldiers who've shed their blood on Korean soil. I've also talked American businesspeople and employees of non-profits who have told me great stories about coming here to help this country get back on its feet. These Americans now marvel at its resounding success. That American spirit and knowhow was definitely exported to South Korea. Right now with so many serious issues in the world, with a country that is both trying to hold on to its prestige and power while also trying to secure its safety, and simultaneously trying to keep its economy and the world economy afloat, how is it that the American people and their new president manage to hold on so strongly to such optimism'? Simply put, it's part of it is our history. If my mother and father, my grandparents and great grandparents could make it through such challenges the serious challenges that they did and flourish and we can too. Layer on top of that globalization and a very real responsibility to not only ourselves but to the world at large and we've got a lot to accomplish. Finally, Generation X has a call to duty. Ihave that American optimism that we will face these challenges and be better off. I'm just ecstatic that my president and the American public agrees with me.

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