Ah, the luxury of popularity. It's not just youngsters who feel like they're counter-cultural these days, it's almost everyone. Well, I'm sure they're enjoying themselves. They certainly don't have to deal with having actual unpopular beliefs.
Here's the bad thing about having actual counter-cultural beliefs: you don't get to choose your allies. I was embarrassed to vote Libertarian in 2016 after the clearly competent candidate almost didn't get the nomination because people were upset he supported driver's licenses. I get total loonies dominating the main stages of my political venues of choice – as bad as the worst actors are of both major political parties, they typically aren't that embarrassing.
Oh, how I long for the passion athletes and gamers have for their pastimes. Jocks and fat basement dwellers are definitely the worst archetypes they have to deal with, and they aren't great. But my hobbies have no emblems or archetypes. This is why I take the time for Game of Thrones, people. It's cold out here in the lonely wilderness of attention. When there's something I like that others like too, of course I jump in with both feet.
Counter-culture a wonderful instinct – we should all try to make society better, and all improvements are changes. But my life has been pretty unusual for as long as I can remember. When people say we should respond to foreign and domestic media manipulation that is trying to divide us with radical unity, obviously I'm on board. I'm a little sad, that this is what might get people together. Don't get me wrong, unity would be a great thing for this strangely divided world, but is unity such a burden we ought to only do it in response to aggressive and hostile propaganda?
But conversely, should all be a lot slower to suggest major changes to culture. What's acceptable, what's not. Condemning this, praising someone who didn't help you personally just because they seem like they're on your team. Even the call to national unity would probably be stronger if it was suggesting a direct and local unity. See your neighbors, talk with them, appreciate them, listen and speak and joke and help them with the small stuff they need help with. Play card and board games with them. Even national identity fights are mainstream these days. Those are almost quintessentially pointless, considering their desired world already has an almost unbreakable foothold. What's to counter?
Perhaps my central counter-cultural ambition is just trying to be nice to people. And honestly, it's pretty popular. I'm not tilting at windmills on this one, it just seems that way when everyone else is on Facebook, enumerating their likes and interests to sort themselves into those groups. Can we not have a culture based on dedication to each other, beyond just tolerating each others' existence? A principled stand against the loneliness taking over this country? Maybe getting fewer people to move away for college, and moving after college for a job? That, at least, would be worth changing culture for.