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Millennial Political Manifesto

January 24, 2013 1 comment

It is in the interest of every American to revere and honor our founding fathers as fathers. A good father brings up his children to function successfully in society. A great father creates the circumstances which allow their children to go further than they themselves could ever dream of voyaging. The founding fathers would not want us to hold them up, but to stand on their shoulders and accomplish loftier ambitions than they were able to bring to fruition.

As millennials, we are beginning to create that world. To accomplish the lofty goals we have dreamed of since youth will require a major shift in popular political thought. It is time for a political renaissance. The tenets below are the starting point from which a new generation of citizens and servants will build to accomplish the necessary societal awakening that our parents, grandparents and ancestors prepared the way for:

We are Global Citizens: We are proud to be Americans, and we value our citizenship. We also know that we are Global Citizens. We must recognize that we are as much responsible for the oppression in foreign countries as we are for those on Main Street. Our response must be that of a gentle servant that is able to both stand strong in the face of adversity, but also act justly.

We honor our past by improving our future: We remember all of our history, and learn from its lessons. We cannot live in such a way that our grandchildren will ask why we weren’t on the forefront of stopping oppression in any of its forms. We take upon our backs the yoke of the minority because we know that a society’s integrity is shown through the way it treats those with the smallest voice.

We view making a difference as a responsibility: We believe that everything we need in order to change our world has been made readily available to us. It is both our joy and obligation to take seriously the responsibility that comes with this great blessing. At the same time, we don’t judge our progress by that of our peers, but by the work that has been accomplished by the greatest of our citizens. It is possible for the government to both step out of the way of individual success, but not treat every citizen the same.

Intellectual Flexibility: We can agree that someone changing their mind based on solid argument and reason is something to get excited about – not attack. Holding true to a belief in the face of failed application is not authenticity; it is absurdity.

Creation: We will be a nation known for passionate creation, devoted compassion, and solemn justice.

Service: Public service is paramount to the success of a society.

Leadership: We will look for leaders that challenge us, not representatives that are made in our collective image.

Above all, we will be a tolerant people who continually question while always making the hard decisions between tolerance and accountability by using common sense toward progress and compassion for those that are different.

Categories: Life Lessons

So, are we special or not?

June 18, 2012 Leave a comment

At the gym I go to there is a bank of five television sets. Three of those televisions have on Fox News. Fox News makes me want to vomit, not because I’m crazy liberal, but because the attitude they convey is one of such arrogance, stubbornness and vitriol that it reminds me of my 16-year-old self – a self I still have to apologize for from time to time when I run into high school friends. In the spirit of that attitude Fox News was interviewing a speaker at a high school graduation who told the graduating kids they weren’t special.

I felt slighted. I told a group of kids they weren’t special seven years ago at a youth group gathering. I was degrading high school students in mass from a position of authority before it was cool.

However, after seven years of living since then I have realized something critical to our generation: we are special. It is easier to say that we aren’t special, because it lifts all obligation of making a difference.

The reality of my generation in the United States is that we are incredibly special.  We have the most resources than any generation prior to ours with which to make a difference.

We should take our position and our place in history seriously. We are special and changing the world isn’t an opportunity we have, but an obligation. We have to be stewards of the great gifts we have been given, especially since they had everything to do with forces outside of anything we could have ever controlled. We have to leverage this unique moment and make a difference. Sure, we are special, but the obligation that goes with that is heavy and should be taken seriously.

Chris Rock was speaking for an entire generation when he bemoaned the fact that people want credit for something they’re supposed to do. Therefore, if you are defining success as being a good wife, good husband, good father, good mother then you need to broaden your view of success. You don’t earn points for doing the right thing. Our generation is called to do great things.

 

Categories: Life Lessons

How Big is Your Trash Can?

December 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Every political candidate has a certain size trashcan. This trashcan is a metaphor for the public’s degree of tolerance regarding a candidate’s foibles. The candidate’s trashcan holds all the bad stuff they do and it gets really ugly if the amount of trash in their life exceeds the capacity of their trashcan. Some candidates are given really small trashcans because they have unproven records and they keep making mistakes which fill their trashcan up until the public cannot take it anymore and they exit rather ungracefully from the limelight (Herman Cain). Some candidates have large trashcans and can afford big mistakes, or flip-flopping from time to time because they have spent years building up goodwill (Mitt Romney). However, some are in the sad state of shrinking their trashcans due to repeated blunders (Rick Perry). The mathematical formula to calculate the size of a candidate’s trashcan is as follows:

   ( (Years of Service)(Positive Impact- Negative Impact))/Extra-Marrital Affairs

Based on this function you can see the following trashcan sizes of some notable GOP candidates:

Categories: Life Lessons

The Legitimacy of Power

November 20, 2011 1 comment

The Occupy Wall Street protests all over the country are fascinating. Of course, it is hard to understand how we as a nation have allowed losses to be socialized and gains to be privatized, but there is more going on which should be cause for reflection. What the protests have really done for me is to begin to make me think deeply about my own nation’s response to dissent and how completely oblivious those in power must be to the changing levels of civilian lead accountability. (This is especially poignant in light of the latest from Egypt.)

Let’s forget for a moment who is right and who is wrong and really look at what it means for police in full riot gear to be facing off against people who look like J Crew models (or college students). Who in power in these cities is thinking about what this looks like on You-Tube and how it comes across on Facebook? How many times will those with power ignore the new laws of social media and user-generated content?

 

Here is a helpful hint police all over the world. When pondering whether to pepper-spray or beat a protestor ask yourself this, “Would I want my mom to see me beating Ryan Gosling?” If the answer is no, which it always should be, find another way to enforce order if order needs enforcing.

Categories: Life Lessons

Don’t say there isn’t anything to do in Waco…you can get robbed.

September 20, 2010 2 comments

Not so exciting version:

An armed robbery has occurred near the campus at the Speight Jenkins Apartments at approximately 9:15 tonight, Sept. 18, 2010.  A black male suspect using what appeared to be a shotgun, robbed a BU student and his friend at his apartment.  No injuries occurred and the suspect left in an unknown direction from the scene of the robbery.  The suspect is described as a black male in his early 20’s, approximately 5’8″ tall and a medium build.  He was wearing a black ball cap with a red bandanna, black shirt and what appeared to be black cut off sweat pants.  Students are advised to use extreme caution and be mindful of your surroundings and to contact the Baylor police at 710-2222 if you observe anyone fitting this description.  Baylor police and Waco police are providing heavy patrols in the area.  The investigation is ongoing.

I wrote this with levity. If this offends your sensibilities cause we could have been killed then untwist your knickers…what’s the point if you cannot laugh about something?

On Saturday night I was sitting out on my front porch with Sara, the cutest girl you’ll ever get the chance to know, on some cheap plastic chairs I had bought earlier in the day. We were enjoying the sunset, while the meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peach cobbler we had prepared for dinner were cooling. Sorry, I have a tendency to embellish, she made the dinner and I washed the dishes.

As we were sitting outside soaking in the summer night a man turned the corner quickly and held an enormous long barreled assault rifle to our face. Night ruined…

He was dressed in an extremely cliché thug uniform which consisted of a black hat, black bandana (Sara swears it was red), black shirt, black cut off sweat pants (scarily similar to the style donned by Baylor sorority girls), and black shoes…oh, and of course, the enormous black assault rifle. I don’t think he read the latest GQ, which clearly said this season’s must have color is purple.

He yelled at us not to scream, to which I asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted cash…no duh. I told him that my wallet and Sara’s purse were inside and I would need to go get them. He allowed us to stand up and followed us into the apartment. As I turned the corner to go into my bedroom he became visibly nervous and he told us to get on the ground or he was going to, “let one go”. (Now, I’ve only ever heard that particular phrase in the locker room in reference to something else, but I assumed he meant he was going to fire his gun.) I handed him my wallet and got on the ground next to Sara. Quick note: for those of you who are worried about our relationship’s purity this is the only time I have been horizontal with her. Sara pushed her purse towards me, and I pushed it on towards the masked man. He asked how much cash he was getting, which we told him was none. Frustrated, he huffed and left. He ended up taking off with my wallet and Sara’s purse. It is important to mention this wasn’t just a purse it was a caramel colored Michael Kors saddle bag with medium straps- a bag befitting an evening out or a trip to the grocery store- which is now in some alley dumpster we’re sure.

It’s been a weird year for me, and this latest incident is actually not the worst thing I have had to deal with this year. However, there are still so many things I have to grieve. I grieve the meatloaf which was probably delicious but carries too many hard memories to be made again. I grieve the inconvenience of having to go reset all my bank accounts, get a new driver’s license and Baylor ID card. I grieve that Michael Kors bag which fit Sara’s fun loving personality perfectly.

As for the masked gunman- whose eyes were eerily reminiscent of 50 cent- I pity him. Yes, I pity this fool. I pity him because he doesn’t understand that our economy has been digitized and even drug dealers use PayPal. I pity that him that the public school system and his family failed him so much that he thought the cash he was asking for was worth more than two brand new Apple laptops that he almost had to step over to get into our apartment. Finally, I pity him that he cannot even articulate the reason he did this was because of a complex mix of cyclical poverty, a moral compass skewed by living in destitution, and a lifetime of bad decisions. Perhaps my views wouldn’t be as nuanced if he had shot us, but he didn’t.

I think God keeps reminding me that he is in control and I’m not. I got the message. Thanks.

Categories: Life Lessons

Success

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Whatever timeline you have built for the success you want to achieve make sure you double it. The quicker we realize Zuckenburg is an anomaly the quicker we put our focus on the right things.

Categories: Life Lessons

Leader of Leaders

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment

You get far more world impact from being a leader of leaders than  you do from being a leader.

Categories: Life Lessons