Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Another reason millennials love Sanders

I read an op-ed on cnbc.com the other day written by Jake Novak headlined, “Bernie Sanders is the front runner because of how we raised our kids.”

Novak opines that the reason so many millennials support Sanders is because their parents, my generation, told them they needed a college education to get ahead. So, the kids went off to college, and now millions of them are saddled with massive student loans.  Sanders promises to wipe out those debts using money taken from the billionaires he despises so much he convulses when he talks about them. 

No wonder so many millennials feel the Bern. Who wouldn’t support someone who says he will wave his magic wand and make their debts go away using other people’s money?  

But Novak missed something else we parents of millennials did that has resulted in millions of our spawn enthusiastically supporting a sputtering, screeching Marxist: We gave them trophies just for showing up. 

At some point in the late seventies or early eighties, some well-meaning parent in California or Kansas or Georgia decided it wasn’t right to give awards only to top-performing children. Maybe his kid wasn’t a star on the soccer field. Maybe her kid was only an average student. This parent, with the best of intentions, stood up at a meeting and said that every kid on the team or in the class should get the same trophy the top kids did. The policy was adopted and, like measles, spread nationwide. 

I coached my son’s soccer team in the early nineties and the league organizers required me to hand out trophies to every six-year-old on the team, including some who rarely showed up and others who had no interest whatsoever in playing and were only there because their parents insisted. The kid who scored three goals in every game earned the same trophy as the kid who squatted in the backfield and picked dandelions. The trophies were meaningless to me and, I suspect, the kids. 

It should come as no surprise to any parent of millennials raised to believe they are entitled to awards they didn’t earn, that their kids are supporting a candidate who claims he wants to level the playing field for everyone. 

Sounds good on paper but what Sanders and his supporters fail to take into account is that, even if the playing field is somehow leveled, there won’t be equal players on it. Some will be smarter. Some will work harder. Some will have more natural talent. Some will take risks that others can’t, don’t or won’t. Those are the players who will change the world and make the future possible. Those are the ones who deserve the trophies. 

You reap what you sow. Those who sow a lot deserve a lot. Those who don't, don't. 

That is a lesson Sanders-loving millennials who grew up thinking they were entitled to trophies their above-average contemporaries actually earned will eventually find out for themselves regardless of who wins the White House in November.