The Moral Immaturity of the Millennial Generation

 

This morning in the PIT, I described my commute home last night from work. For those of you that haven’t heard, I recently moved to Portland, OR, where I work at one of the large hospitals downtown. Because of traffic and scarce parking, I take both the bus and the train into work. Last night, I left work about 15 minutes late. This may not seem significant, but when you’re beholden to a train schedule, leaving even 30 second late can put a major crimp in your commute. I was late leaving work because of the flurry of activity that happened with my patients at the end of my shift. One of my patients had come in with recent neurological changes, and after the work up had been done, at the end of my shift this patient was given a new diagnosis of cancer with a very poor prognosis. The family was sweet and understanding and appreciative; all of the things that make nurses remember why they became a nurse in the first place. I sat at the computer outside my patient’s room to chart, hearing the family cry together. I offered my presence and comfort, but it was clear that they wanted to be alone. At the nurses station, we all spoke in hushed tones about how sad it was, and how the worst diagnoses always seem to happen to the nicest people.

As you can imagine would be the case in Portland, my day had consisted of staff lamenting the election results. There was a litany of “I’m so depressed,” “I cried the whole time I was getting ready this morning,” and “I just can’t believe people would vote for him.” That morning, I over heard a woman tell her friend that Max (the light rail in Portland) had to close temporarily around one o’clock that morning because of protests; however, my commute to work was uneventful. I was anticipating an equally uneventful ride home, but that was not the case. When I got off the bus at Pioneer Square to catch Max, police were out securing crowd control barriers, and I could see an occasional “Trump is NOT my president” sign waving in the air. While running to catch the train that was pulling in, I saw a young hipster woman completely topless with anti-Trump sentiments written across her body. I reached the platform in time, but was informed by the police that the train would not be stopping at Pioneer Square because of the protests; I had to walk up five blocks to the next stop. Now, five blocks might not seem like much, but after a 13 hour day on your feet trying to slay the dragons of disease, it’s a lot. As I walked grumpily past all the 20-somthing homeless and protesters, I became increasingly incensed by the childishness of it all. I wanted to run back to find that young woman exposing herself and yell at her, “Showing everyone your tits won’t make a damn bit of difference or make anyone take you remotely seriously!! Put a damn shirt on and go get a job!” Meanwhile, my sweet patient was probably still crying in her hospital bed, coming to grips with her own impending death.

While I am technically a Millennial, I don’t feel like part of the group. The Millennial generation seems to be largely a generation of children who never got past elementary school in their moral development. In psychology we learned about Kohlberg’s stages of moral development: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. Historically, children make up those in the pre-conventional and conventional stages. Adults occupy the post-conventional stage, in which morality is driven by what is best for society or by a higher, empirical moral code. Children are concerned with being a “good boy” or “good girl.” Children see things as being black or white, an eye for an eye, fair is fair. As we mature, we are supposed to come to understand that things are not always fair, and tit for tat is not the best policy for society. Adults realize that our morals come from a higher source, and the rules must sometimes be broken in order to do what is right. The protesters in Portland and those spewing hate and hysterics on my Facebook feed have never grown up. For them, life must always be fair. If Sally gets a lollipop, then Kayla has to get one too. They don’t see inconsistency of their actions as relates to their stated beliefs of tolerance, acceptance, and diversity. They are children throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get a lollipop, but the conservatives did. 

The contrast between the whininess taking place in Pioneer Square and the dignified sorrow of my patient and her family was shocking and infuriating. I wanted to drag that topless woman to the hospital and make her work with me for a week, to see the best and the worst of humanity. To see that life is not fair, and the nicest people you will meet are often the ones with the most devastating diseases. I’m not sure how to make the 20-somethings snap out of if. I can only hope that they eventually grow up.

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  1. michael johnson Inactive
    michael johnson
    @michaeljohnson

    hear hear….very well done.  Be careful up there in the wild northwest.

    • #1
  2. Eb Snider Inactive
    Eb Snider
    @EbSnider

    In Pittsburgh the Mayor of the city participated in a protest walk. Likely less colorful as the one you saw, but I had similar sentiments. I also thought it was inappropriate and ominous to protest and election result, especially from a local political leader. Ok, I can understand people being upset about the election and protesting a specific thing Trump did, but protesting the election result makes us look a bit like a banana republic. The hard left I fear will learn nothing from the election and just gear up for another run and double down.

    • #2
  3. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Portland has long been a very liberal place, with a fairly large portion of the population over the top. I’m not sure if anyone can grow up in that environment.

    And prayers for your patient.

     

    • #3
  4. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    Eb Snider: The hard left I fear will learn nothing from the election and just gear up for another run and double down.

    As progressives, only the outcome matters. Not how it is achieved.

     

    • #4
  5. I Shot The Serif Member
    I Shot The Serif
    @IShotTheSerif

    I yelled “Get a job” at some students at my school, but I don’t think they heard me. I’m bad at yelling.

    • #5
  6. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    I Shot The Serif:I yelled “Get a job” at some students at my school, but I don’t think they heard me. I’m bad at yelling.

    Some voice lessons will fix that right up!.

    • #6
  7. Ford Penney Member
    Ford Penney
    @FordPenney

    Thanks for your post, reality is like gravity, yell all you want, trip and you will fall down, you can’t override gravity.

    I worked with the Phoenix Children’s Hospital for almost 10 years and the real ‘stories’ that happened daily made you very grateful that there were people willing to fight at those levels and that your own children were blessed with health.

    One small story was meeting a little boy at the PCH Foundation offices, 6 year old Adam, whom I was told was celebrating his first day out without a mask since his bone marrow transplant at the University of Arizona Medial Center some weeks before. I was introduced to his mother and the woman I worked with at PCH mentioned that I had done all the design work for the subacute care facility including all the character designs. Adam’s mother said that he wore the baseball cap with a funny green shark character on it, it was his favorite. She called him over and introduced us to each other, when he was told I had drawn the shark his eyes got big and his mom asked if I could autograph it for him. I was completely taken aback, here was a boy and his mother going through all this and they wanted MY autograph? Well of course anything you want.

    Received a call 5 weeks later that Adam had died. Still hard to think about.

    Thanks for reminding us what’s really important.

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Well said.

    • #8
  9. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    Ford Penney:I worked with the Phoenix Children’s Hospital for almost 10 years and the real ‘stories’ that happened daily made you very grateful that there were people willing to fight at those levels and that your own children were blessed with health.

    One small story was meeting a little boy at the PCH Foundation offices, 6 year old Adam, whom I was told was celebrating his first day out without a mask since his bone marrow transplant at the University of Arizona Medial Center some weeks before. I was introduced to his mother and the woman I worked with at PCH mentioned that I had done all the design work for the subacute care facility including all the character designs. Adam’s mother said that he wore the baseball cap with a funny green shark character on it, it was his favorite. She called him over and introduced us to each other, when he was told I had drawn the shark his eyes got big and his mom asked if I could autograph it for him. I was completely taken aback, here was a boy and his mother going through all this and they wanted MY autograph? Well of course anything you want.

    Received a call 5 weeks later that Adam had died. Still hard to think about.

    Thanks for reminding us what’s really important.

    Dang it, my allergies…

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    This, by the way, is the kind of personal stories that Ricochet was made for. @exjon and @roblong might like to see this. I think this is some of the best marketing Ricochet could have.

    • #10
  11. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    1, it sounds like you miss the South as much as the South misses you.

    2, if it’s any comfort, just remember that Baby Boomers went from naked, stinky hippies rolling in mud and %$#& at Woodstock, to voting for Reagan twice.

    • #11
  12. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Vicryl Contessa:One of my patients had come in with recent neurological changes, and after the work up had been done, at the end of my shift this patient was given a new diagnosis of cancer with a very poor prognosis. The family was sweet and understanding and appreciative; all of the things that make nurses remember why they became a nurse in the first place…

    As you can imagine would be the case in Portland, my day had consisted of staff lamenting the election results. There was a litany of “I’m so depressed,” “I cried the whole time I was getting ready this morning,” and “I just can’t believe people would vote for him.”

    Had Hillary won, conservatives wouldn’t be protesting half-naked in the streets, but we’d still be grousing among ourselves. Sharing a lamentation your audience totally relates to creates a common bond – and you’re living in a place where the lamenters can make a pretty good bet that their audience will relate to it. Neurological changes with a poor prognosis – that’s not the sort of thing you bandy about as if others can relate to it, because they probably can’t. Better in that case to simply be profoundly grateful that others are still willing to treat you like a human being!

    I wanted to drag that topless woman to the hospital and make her work with me for a week, to see the best and the worst of humanity. To see that life is not fair, and the nicest people you will meet are often the ones with the most devastating diseases. I’m not sure how to make the 20-somethings snap out of if.

    Oddly enough, after having met some of the nicest people lately with a pretty devastating disease, I’m less confident that even such direct, visceral experience with the unfairness of life teaches the “snap out” conservatives wish it would.

    • #12
  13. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    Arahant:This, by the way, is the kind of personal stories that Ricochet was made for. @exjon and @roblong might like to see this. I think this is some of the best marketing Ricochet could have.

    Oh my goodness! Such a commendation. You do me great honor.

    • #13
  14. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Vicryl Contessa: Oh my goodness! Such a commendation. You do me great honor.

    You do the site and us great honor to be writing on it and sharing what you are seeing. Thank you.

    • #14
  15. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Vicryl ContessaI wanted to drag that topless woman to the hospital and make her work with me for a week, to see the best and the worst of humanity. To see that life is not fair, and the nicest people you will meet are often the ones with the most devastating diseases. I’m not sure how to make the 20-somethings snap out of if.

    Oddly enough, after having met some of the nicest people lately with a pretty devastating disease, I’m less confident that even such direct, visceral experience with the unfairness of life teaches the “snap out” conservatives wish it would.

    I’m not sure what it would take. I think it’s always been assumed that people become more conservative with age. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. Someone here has shared statistics that indicate people aren’t becoming more conservative with age.

    • #15
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Vicryl Contessa: I think it’s always been assumed that people become more conservative with age.

    That was back when age guaranteed an introduction to our very good friend Reality. So many now avoid ever meeting Reality, although that can only last for so long.

    Edit: Must be a no-embed clip. It’s Humphrey Bogart on the virtues of capitalism in the version of Sabrina with William Holden and Audrey Hepburn. One of the greatest movie speeches ever.

    • #16
  17. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    • #17
  18. Admiral janeway Inactive
    Admiral janeway
    @Admiral janeway

    Yes the protestors are a hassle. But Let’s remember that this is not even three days old yet, and HRC DID get more votes than Trump.

    the good news is Hillary managed to not rig the election. If she had, who is to say what sort of actual violence might have occurred? It was intimated by many beforehand. trump himself had some choice words on that, let us not forget.

    when I was in high school, there was a lot of talk about how my generation (x) was going to be the most criminal in history. I think of that every time I hear various complaints about various generations.

    • #18
  19. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    kylez:

    For the record, Portlandia is 100% accurate.

    • #19
  20. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    I love that there are protests. For what? Aren’t protesters supposed to have demands?

    • #20
  21. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    Admiral janeway:Yes the protestors are a hassle. But Let’s remember that this is not even three days old yet, and HRC DID get more votes than Trump.

    the good news is Hillary managed to not rig the election. If she had, who is to say what sort of actual violence might have occurred? It was intimated by many beforehand. trump himself had some choice words on that, let us not forget.

    when I was in high school, there was a lot of talk about how my generation (x) was going to be the most criminal in history. I think of that every time I hear various complaints about various generations.

    A friend of mine just posted on FB a petition to abolish the electoral college because “it’s not fair that she got the popular vote.”

    I know that there’s a long history of complaining about the upcoming generation, but it does seem as though there has been a shift.

    • #21
  22. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    Vicryl Contessa:

    kylez:

    For the record, Portlandia is 100% accurate.

    I’ve seen some of that show, but that opening was my favorite thing. Still makes me laugh.

    • #22
  23. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    kylez:I love that there are protests. For what? Aren’t protesters supposed to have demands?

    I think they’re pretty much demanding that Trump not be allowed to be president… and now there’s the new push to get rid of the electoral college.

    • #23
  24. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Portland is in a nice location, on one side of downtown is the Willamette River, on the other side the West Hills rise up to about 1,000 feet. The river is at about 30 feet above sea level so it makes quite visual contrast with the buildings of the downtown area.

    Portlanders have both an inferiority complex when they are compared to Seattle and a smug self-righteous attitude when it comes to their feelings about the rest of Oregon. I know both cities pretty well. The downtown area of Seattle is blah and rather seedy, and if not for Puget Sound does not have much to recommend it for charm. Downtown Portland has short city blocks and if not for the transients and the road warriors (young urban transients) is pretty nice. If you want to get an idea of the hipster and the silliness of Portland culture watch the television series Portlandia. Intended to be a comedy it is really a documentary.

    • #24
  25. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Prayers for your patient and her family. Glad you made it home ok. I can see you going back and yelling to that “child” to put her shirt on and get a job! Haha!

    • #25
  26. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    Blondie:Prayers for your patient and her family. Glad you made it home ok. I can see you going back and yelling to that “child” to put her shirt on and get a job! Haha!

    I probably would have had I not been booking it to catch the train that I couldn’t actually catch.

    • #26
  27. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Arahant:

    Vicryl Contessa: I think it’s always been assumed that people become more conservative with age.

    That was back when age guaranteed an introduction to our very good friend Reality. So many now avoid ever meeting Reality, although that can only last for so long.

    I don’t think it’s just meeting Reality, though, but meeting Reality in specific ways. For example, though it’s unrealistic to expect life to be completely fair, it might also be unrealistic to expect conservative habits to develop in an environment where everything was unfair – where all incentives were perverse.

    Experiencing what anonymous calls the “crunchiness” of life – immediate useful feedback – is important. Not all of Reality is crunchy, however.

    We hope it’s unlikely that folks’ lives will be a series of “mushy” events, fortunate or unfortunate, that teach them that personal responsibility does not matter. But we can imagine a life made up of events where punishment/reward and personal responsibility were quite decoupled – a life quite absurd. It’s possible a sclerotic society makes things “mushier” even for those apt to “snap out of it” under “crunchier” circumstances.

    • #27
  28. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    Doug Watt:Portland is in a nice location, on one side of downtown is the Willamette River, on the other side the West Hills rise up to about 1,000 feet. The river is at about 30 feet above sea level so it makes quite visual contrast with the buildings of the downtown area.

    Portlanders have both an inferiority complex when they are compared to Seattle and a smug self-righteous attitude when it comes to their feelings about the rest of Oregon. I know both cities pretty well. The downtown area of Seattle is blah and rather seedy, and if not for Puget Sound does not have much to recommend it for charm. Downtown Portland has short city blocks and if not for the transients and the road warriors (young urban transients) is pretty nice. If you want to get an idea of the hipster and the silliness of Portland culture watch the television series Portlandia. Intended to be a comedy it is really a documentary.

    It’s absolutely a documentary!

    • #28
  29. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    kylez:I love that there are protests. For what? Aren’t protesters supposed to have demands?

    They aren’t protests. They are temper tantrums.

    • #29
  30. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    Vicryl Contessa:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Vicryl Contessa: I wanted to drag that topless woman to the hospital and make her work with me for a week, to see the best and the worst of humanity. To see that life is not fair, and the nicest people you will meet are often the ones with the most devastating diseases. I’m not sure how to make the 20-somethings snap out of if.

    Oddly enough, after having met some of the nicest people lately with a pretty devastating disease, I’m less confident that even such direct, visceral experience with the unfairness of life teaches the “snap out” conservatives wish it would.

    I’m not sure what it would take. I think it’s always been assumed that people become more conservative with age. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. Someone here has shared statistics that indicate people aren’t becoming more conservative with age.

    We’re already seeing with the aging baby boomers that we are probably going to have the most liberal group of elderly people ever. I’m sure there will be many young adult conservatives amazed at how liberal their grandma is.

    • #30
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