The New Silent Generation (or "What I hate myself for")
Two things turned me inside out today while I was out taking a walk in the city. The first was my response to a comment I heard that fumed me, and the other was a display of apathy including my own; both belonged in their own ways to a disability to speak up caused by what I believe to be a derailed sense of morality that is weaving through the fibre of society.
When I boarded a tram a lady in the tram who was trying to get off after the other alighting passengers were gone said to her companion referring to the boarding passengers, "How rude these people are," and then raised her voice saying, "excuse us! We're trying to get off!" Then and there, my ears turned fuming hot and I so wanted to give the lady an earful about how it was her who dilly-dallyed when other passengers were alighting before her. How dare she blame others for her own indecision!
Another frustrating incident also happened to have taken place in a tram! - does public transport bring out the worst in people? A half-drunk youth was harassing two ladies seated next to him and for minutes after insufferable minutes, the women were left to their own limited resort to ward off the slurring nuisance and nobody went to their rescue!
The bottom line is, men from my generation (myself very much included) are incapacitated from acting as men when it counts. We are more than glad to stand by and watch others suffer than jump into the hot seat to relieve others. We haven't been taught how to stand up for the needy, but how could we? Men my age were raised by men and women born in the Silent Generation. As the Time magazine described our parents in 1951:
Youth today is waiting for the hand of fate to fall on its shoulders, meanwhile working fairly hard and saying almost nothing. The most startling fact about the younger generation is its silence. With some rare exceptions, youth is nowhere near the rostrum. By comparison with the Flaming Youth of their fathers & mothers, today's younger generation is a still, small flame. It does not issue manifestoes, make speeches or carry posters...
...so their children naturally follow in their footsteps.
I'm not asking my generation to issue manifestoes, carry posters or burn books. These things have been and should continually be debated for their validity. I don't even have the right to ask anything of others until I do something about it myself; as Chesterton was rumoured to have supplied the two-word answer to the question what's wrong with the world, "I am." All I can do is to refrain from inaction in the future when action is needed on the side of good. No more silence when speaking out could save. There would be no more fear of declaring the truth if the fear of God triumphs.
People suffer when we fall by the wayside. What are we going to do?