Thursday, August 25, 2011

[Part II] The Author's Hour: Morley Winograd and Mike D. Hais Debunk Assumptions about Millennials

If you are an author and interested in being featured in AEM's new series called, "The Author's Hour," please send me an email ( 

Mike D. Hais and Morley Winograd recently spoke to me about their forthcoming book, Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America (September 2011). This is the second part of our talk. 

CCJ: How have Millennials/Youth Groups responded to your book? What role did they play in its creation?

Mike and Morley: As a result of our first book, we have had the privilege of getting to know and work with many active and engaged Millennials. During the writing of the book we were able to reach out and make new friends among Millennials through such websites as The Next Great Generation and Millennials Changing America as well. This allowed us to include the 'voice of the Millennial Generation' in our newest book with specific comments included in individual chapters on education, the economy, and health care. In addition, we were very fortunate to be given advance insight into the Think 2040 project of the Roosevelt Institute’s Campus Network. Their project, involving over 2000 Millennials in a conversation about the type of future they would like to create for America resulted in the publication of their Blueprint for a Millennial America, which we quote extensively in the conclusion to Millennial Momentum.  

CCJ: We are living in a period of significant uncertainty. People are fearful about a lot of things, and rightly so. What role do you think Millennials will serve to shape the conversation? Do they seem less negative than other generations?

Mike and Morley: Every eighty years America has a rancorous, sometimes violent, debate about the nation’s civic ethos, i.e. what should be the scope and purpose of government.  The first occurred during and after the Revolutionary War and resulted in the most fundamental documents of our democracy—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The second took place during the Civil War. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments codified the outcome of that debate, but not until the country was literally torn asunder over the question of ending slavery and extending the privileges of freedom and equality to African-Americans.  And in the 1930s, the economic deprivations experienced by most Americans from the excesses of the Industrial Revolution, led to support for a 'New Deal' for the forgotten man that placed the responsibility for economic stability, growth and opportunity squarely on the federal government.  Each of these periods was a time of great Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, or FUD. And in each case the resolution of the debate depended on the beliefs of a rising, young civic generation becoming the dominant value system of the country, overturning the more ideologically rigid ideas of the older generations then in power. 

We believe Millennials will play a key role in ending this current period of FUD by bringing their beliefs and behaviors to the center of American civic life. Because of its sheer size, we think the Millennial Generation will have the numbers and unity of purpose to create a consensus around its approach to solving the nation’s problems. The positive, upbeat, optimistic attitudes of Millennials will eventually triumph over the doomsayers and doubters of America’s future and place a stamp upon America’s future as enduring and positive as those of our Founding Fathers and the GI Generation. 

Stay tuned for the final installment! 

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