Or: President of the United Snowflakes
Much to my chagrin, it’s almost president season again. It’s one of my least favorite times to be a person with a television and the internet, because it manages to bring out the worst in everyone. Social media is filled with would-be pundits rabidly spewing their opinions as the truest of gospel and attacking anyone that cares to disagree. I can already see the ramp up in general stupidity as politicians announce their intentions to run.
As much as I could (and kind of want to) complain at length about how horrendous the whole thing is, I’m not going to. The reason I bring it up at all is because a singular, terrifying thought emerged from the dread of the upcoming election.
A member of my generation will be President one day, and it will be an amazing disaster.
My generation has consistently proven that we aren’t particularly interested in outgrowing our childishness. Because we are all special snowflakes, we have become entrenched in the idea that we are intelligent, important, and infallible. We have been told we can be anything we want to be. If only we want it enough we can be an astronaut, a fighter pilot, a superhero, a surgeon, a movie star, or the motherfucking president.
This is pure, unfiltered bullshit, but we believed it as children because the people who were supposed to be telling us the truth were the ones saying it. I can’t be whatever I wanted to be. If this were the case, I would literally be Batman, but alas, I am not a billionaire, vigilante, or even an actor that gets to pretend to be Batman.
We’ve been told we can be president so we believe it.
Believing you can be anything you want isn’t really that bad, though. It can motivate us to better ourselves or give us confidence to run down our dreams, potentially catching the realistic ones. But we don’t stop at believing, we act like we can be anything we want. We act like we deserve it because we want it, and that’s where it crosses over into shit covered snowflakery.
This sort of ‘I can be whatever I want because everyone says so mentality’ is why everyone is now an armchair everything. Because of this idea that we are a generation of super-geniuses, we think we are experts on all sorts of things that we don’t know a damn thing about. Some of us don’t even bother googling something before spouting off about law, medicine, or politics.
I’m a therapist by trade. You have no idea how often people act like they can do my job because they know a couple of (usually inaccurate) pop-psychology factoids.
I’m one of those obnoxious people that thinks Idiocracy is some sort of cautionary documentary sent back in time to save us from ourselves. Except they got it wrong – the danger isn’t stupidity (even though it’s a tremendous problem), the danger is selfishness and arrogance. We will build the concept of self on these cornerstones and our culture will crumble under the weight of individual execptionalism. By that time we will have elected at least few folks like President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, who have won the presidency by somehow managing to out-special the other snowflakes.
One day, a person who has always felt like they deserve to be the president will sit at a desk in the oval office. This person will have an intrinsic value set that says they are uniquely exceptional, that they are experts in anything they choose, that their opinions are probably factual, that they can be anything they want to be.
If you aren’t at least a little bit terrified by this idea, then you haven’t been paying attention.