Call Them What They Really Are: “The Reform Generation”


By Jim Bleyer

The generation, born from 2000 to the present, is known by sociologists as “The New Silents” or “Gen Z.”

Thoughtless. Insulting, Inaccurate.

This is the generation that has challenged pay-for-play politicians, confronted their socially unconscious elders, and sparked a mini-revolution.  Media coverage of its activism over the past month has been seismic.

”The New Silents” sounds like something that generational theorists Neil Howe and William Strauss pulled out of a bodily orifice.

Let’s connect with reality: these students are the “Reform Generation.” They are not going away.  They are strident, articulate, knowledgeable, incisive, and unrelenting.

Activist/Gun Control Advocate Emma Gonzalez


Those “generational theory” specialists need to go back to the drawing board.  Why generations are named so prematurely is nonsensical—although they couldn’t go wrong with “Millennials.”

My generation is accurately called the “Silents.”  We were not labeled that from the womb.  Sadly, we earned that sobriquet.  The “Baby Boomers” might have been predicted but it was a while before that generation was tagged with the title.

The Reformers are undaunted by the knuckleheaded Florida Legislature and craven Governor Rick Scott, taking their case for stricter gun controls natuonwide.

The movement has extended its geographical reach but shamefully, not its demographic one.  The Reformer’s elders, both mainstreamers and those who call themselves “progressives,” are doing little but cheering them on.  Those groups have the critical economic muscle to imvoke change, like boycotting FedEx for instance.

The Reformers are carrying the year, not just the day.

Bold political leaders, like Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum who marched with the Reformers and took up their cause, are  too rare.  The collective voices of the other five candidates for governor  equal the decibel level of the waiting room at Sloan-Kettering.

And in Tampa, not one candidate who has announced for mayor or city council has said a word about the gun debate.  The equally cowardly Republican legislators who bowed to their NRA handlers and refused to ban assault rifles will have to answer to their constituents in November if not in earlier primaries.

The most cowardly public officeholder was State Sen. Dana Young who missed three votes that would have made schools safer.   She cavalierly tossed off her absence as a “non-issue.”

The 2018 campaign trail will be dusty and loud.

Comments are closed.