An anonymous Ragin’ Cajun responds to last week’s editorial
This opinion is intended to serve as a comment regarding the older generations’ view of my generation. Their view of us can be summarized in one word: entitlement. There are three things that I wish to say to my generation:
1) You are entitled to nothing.
2) You do not get to make all of the rules in life.
3) There is a proper way to respond to an issue you have.
I came across a recent opinion from someone in my generation that was very poorly written. It made me think about these three things that I have wanted to get across to my generation for some time. Of course, many of us do not feel the way that this entitled group does, and take nothing we are given for granted. We understand we are not entitled to anything. We also understand that we do not always get to make the rules in life. It is upsetting for those of us that do not represent the stereotype of our generation to be grouped with those that feel entitled.
This letter is not intended to critique an individual person or group of writers of past opinions. It is an opinion meant to critique the way that many individuals in our generation handle situations, whether it is regarding social issues or public policies that affect us.
The only way we can have a say in policies that affect us, is to participate in the actual rule-making process. Most of this can be done through voting or participating in meetings where the rule-making groups and agencies meet to formulate public policies. If one has a problem with the process that affects them or something they care about, they should get involved in the process.
Many changes occur, within our University for example, and are out of our control. We simply must deal with the change from then on. Policies cannot, and never will, satisfy all of the people affected. Our University takes many things into account before it changes a policy. However, to continue using our University as an example, if one wishes for authority figures to take their opinion seriously, there is a certain way an opinion should be presented.
The groups that make policies that affect us do not respond to poorly written opinions, and certainly will not take them seriously. A response that comes off as a rant written in anger, rather than a carefully formulated opinion, will not be considered in any action regarding the policy mentioned.
If a policy change negatively affects someone, they have the right to be upset. They have the right to their opinion, as well as the right to publish it. But they have a duty as the writer of an opinion being sent in to a university newspaper to see that it is communicated properly. The Vermilion is not a blog post or a social media outlet. It is a publication where people can submit their opinion. There is a difference in the methods employed when one is writing for a blog, versus writing for a newspaper.
Of course, writing an article and writing an opinion piece require different conventions. An opinion piece may be much more informal. However, this informality should not be so extreme that the piece comes across as a rant on social media or a personal blog. For example, in opinions I have read that were written by someone in my generation, the word “like” is used the way some use it in everyday speech. In a private blog post or social media post, personal diction has its place. However, in a publicly issued opinion piece, correct grammar should always be used. This is important if the writer intends for his or her opinion to be taken seriously by authority figures. If one’s audience responds to properly written replies regarding a policy change, then a poorly-written response will serve little use.
Aside from wanting to formulate all of the rules, and responding to issues incorrectly, the main issue that authority figures encounter is our assumption of entitlement. For simplicity’s sake, I will continue with the example of our University.
College is not supposed to be free.
The fact that federal and state governments legislated bills requiring tax payer money to go towards programs like TOPS in Louisiana, and other Federal Aid programs, is wonderful and should not be taken for granted. I see so many people taking these types of aid programs for granted. A group within our generation realizes that we are not entitled to all of the things that we receive, and disagree with the opinions held by those who think this money is owed to them. Again, college is not supposed to be free. Luckily, our society sees education as important, which leads to tax payer money funding the education of hard working students, and especially those students that are less fortunate. This is a blessing—not something owed to us.
This opinion is being sent to The Vermilion in hopes that the group that I belong to within my generation may be heard. It is also an apology, on behalf of this group, to those that implement policies that affect us. We have an opinion that we wish could be heard, but time after time our opinion is drowned out by the noise of the louder group: the entitled. We are grateful for all of those here at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that are helping us in our journey through college. We hope you see those of us that are appreciative of your time and talent.
A proud Ragin’ Cajun!