My generation’s idealism was mostly channeled into private projects, which bubbled over into politics only when they had ceased being controversial. Sometimes these projects sprouted in business rather than politics. Silicon Valley was where idealists went to get rich. Idealism was kind of like brand-differentiation then. I understand brand-differentiation isn’t a phrase that has meaning for you.

You see the cynicism and the smallness of our politics. You see that we treated political leaders like game show contestants, and you are disgusted. And I understand. Their lack of idealism can be correlated with bumbling failure and bloodshed. Game show contestants, it turns out, can conduct unjust wars. Cynics can sit on top of an economic system that is breaking down, where the poor are subsidized in inequitable conditions, while the political class constantly sells out their interests.

You see that powerful European nations launched economic war on less powerful ones and called it peace. You see that American leaders stoked wars in far-off places, causing needless death and destruction. And then you see that the press asked them about inanities.

I’m excited by your ideals. It’s like a cold shower for the soul. But I worry that your great-grandkids will look on your generation’s passions and sacrifices as misguided, too, like the passions and sacrifices of those poor Tommy Boys.