As we head into what will likely be the 4th week of our third? fourth? third and a half? lockdown, people are becoming more and more pessimistic and hopeless. No one is seeing an end to this. The miraculous vaccines which were supposed to make this huge difference in the numbers of sick people so far haven’t made a significant dent. The new virus mutations are a new source of fear and uncertainty. Too late measures taken to restricting travel have stranded Israelis in different countries with no return date in sight. A report came out showing that Israel has spent more time in lockdown than any other country in the world and unfortunately, the results of that are not a country free of Covid – not even close. There is blame being thrown around at Netanyahu, the Haredi protestors, the anti-Netanyahu protestors…the list goes on. We’ve heard about concern for the hospitals and healthcare workers, the older generation who are at higher risk, the kids who have missed school. In my opinion though, there is one significant population that is getting hit harder than almost any other and barely being recognized – the generation of 25-40ish adults – the millennials. My own generation. Many of these people are parents of young kids. Many are at the beginnings of promising careers. Most I would venture to guess, are not essential workers. And all of them have gotten royally screwed over by this pandemic and the government running the show.
It seems that every day I see another post on social media written by a parent who has reached the end of their rope. Another person who has just reached the very limits of what they can handle and don’t know how to move forward. These are people that aren’t necessarily essential workers and yet it is essential that they be able to work. That’s becoming increasingly harder to do as more businesses have to make cuts and close up shop. It’s also harder to do when you have a different kid home every day for a different bidud and then all of them home with no end in sight for lockdown. These people also have to sit by and watch their kids go weeks without any social interaction. We watch as our kids regress in their emotional development because they haven’t had any real structure or routine in months. Parents who have tried to be strict about discipline and screen time in their homes have had to backtrack on almost every parenting decision they’ve made because they just don’t have a choice.
This generation also worries not just about themselves and their children, but their parents as well. Many of them haven’t gone near their parents in almost a year. Those with parents who live in other countries have had to go by with phone calls only for a year. Their parents haven’t met their new babies, haven’t been to their smachot. They haven’t been able to be with their parents who are getting older and getting sick. They are juggling more balls than they can count and they’re doing it with almost no support at all from their country and the leaders that put them in this position because of negligence and political games.
Who’s going to pay the mortgages when the new home owners can’t pay because their once thriving careers screeched to a halt? Who’s going to pay for the therapy and tutoring that all of their kids will inevitably need? Who’s going to get these people career support and guidance because their industries have more or less closed down?
This generation makes up the future leaders of the world’s industries. These are people that should be being built up. Instead, they’re being stripped down to nothing. They are at a breaking point that will be incredibly difficult to bounce back from. And while they’re at home doing everything they can to get through the day, the week, the month with their sanity intact and their kids and themselves healthy and relatively happy, they get to watch their government fight over how to deal with the Haredi lockdown violations. They get to watch every single person in power blame the next guy down the line for letting things get this bad. They get to watch every politician running in the upcoming elections talk about how much better they are than Benjamin Netanyahu.
None of these people care anymore about whose fault this is and who’s to blame and who can deal with the Haredim and the Arabs! They don’t care who has a better chance at forming a coalition. They want answers. They want to know that their government actually cares about what’s happening to them. They want a plan, support, action. They want realistic solutions to very difficult problems. Continuous lockdowns are not a realistic solution – especially not for them. If the government expects us to continue blindly following along with regulations and orders as our lives are dramatically altered, then they’d better have a way to help us out. Enough with the slogans and soundbites. Who’s going to step up to actually represent the interests of this crumbling, once promising, generation? Who will be responsible for repairing it? These are the questions that we really want the answers to. The rest of it is just noise. And an entire generation is at stake. I hope our leaders will start taking that seriously.