What is “Extreme” and how can I protect myself from it?


I’ve been thinking about this whole “extremist” parameter that keeps popping up. “Extreme” Islam. “Extreme” Christian. People are being described as “extremists”. There are people who don’t want to be associated with “extremists”. Being “extreme” is a paradigm. When you think about it, it’s really a farce statement that helps people sleep at night thinking that they certainly can’t be categorized into such a grouping of people. The word, extreme, is a fine description for something excessive or outlandish. It works for things like nachos, sports competition, or that which is truly above and beyond the norm. When it comes to things like faith systems and beliefs… “extreme” is a really a false and misleading statement.

With faith belief systems, such as Christianity or Islam (for that matter), there’s no “in-between”. You either believe in the deity and the teachings of the master or you don’t. No matter what your thoughts are on the literary pieces themselves, it’s all there in absolutes. If you are to call yourself a “Christian” you follow the teachings of the Christ as written in the New Testament of the Bible. Followers of Islam do so under instruction of the Qua-ran.

There’s no “extreme” or “mild” version of belief systems. As a true follower of faith, you aren’t granted the luxury of picking and choosing the teachings. You take them all for truth and apply the teachings into your life and call yourself a believer or you don’t. What you do have a choice of is how you express your beliefs.

All that being said… you have a choice to believe what you want. You have the choice to believe in nothing. There are people that will debate the legitimacy of your choices and in this country, they are entitled to exercise that right. Just as you are entitled to exercise your right to believe what you want. But that doesn’t mean that you have to right to force your beliefs on others.

It’s sound advice to be understanding but keep in mind that understanding something does not mean you have to accept it into your own belief system. Understanding is a level of tolerance. Acceptance is an act. It’s a choice. In some belief systems, acceptance simply isn’t an option. If you accept another belief system in any way, it nullifies your current belief. This is the major difference between the racism and dispute over beliefs.

Some belief systems are simply not compatible. If you compromise your belief to satisfy another group, then you cannot call yourself a believer. The outright murder and genocide of a certain group of people is acceptable with some belief systems. This is not compatible with the value system put into place as the foundation of certain countries. Racism is an act. Not a system of values.

In the end, there’s no “extreme” value systems. There’s only value systems that accept certain actions and those that don’t. As a citizens of this country, we have to realize which is more important. Do we preserve the value system in which our country is founded upon and forgo a certain amount of tolerance or do we allow the value system to be broken down in the name of “understanding?”

One Nation Under God


05 May 2016

If you don’t believe that our country was founded under the precepts of a nation under God, you’re highly mistaken. Read your American history. Yes, our forefathers came here for each person to be able to exercise the freedom of religion not only because they feared oppression but because it’s God’s desire that we come to Him willfully. That we choose Him on our own accord. The precepts of this country, though, are based upon the foundation of Christianity.

  • When you swear an oath in court, you swear (or affirm) to be honest in virtue according to that in which has been said in the Holy Bible… which is the book you place your hand upon.
  • Every government appointee, from the President, to Federal Representative, to the solider who swears to defend his country, does so under oath to God and country. They swear allegiance to the flag of the country to which, the ultimate witness is (you guessed it) God.
  • In God We Trust was placed on national currency as a means to explicit that we trust our economy to God and that He will provide us with prosperity through it.
  • Marriage rites are not legally recognized unless the couple has affirmed with God (or a representative of their faith).

The examples of the God being part of our government’s foundation precepts are historical fact. So if you’re so inclined, pray for our country that we find our way back to our nation’s roots. That our new leaders will hold true to their oath. It is only through this that our country will be strong again.


A Testimonial of Faith


In my travels, I’ve experienced many cultures and seen the many different ways that people celebrate faith. One of those adventures was working with relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. These were long days in the SuperDome with limited resources at a time when people were at their lowest. Although my personal faith in God was waning at that time in my life, I could appreciate what these people were going through.

In one of the few moments of my six weeks in New Orleans, I toured some of the affected areas. I was in the military at the time and was in uniform. The water had receded some en route to the area west of the SuperDome where I was strolling down on foot to take in the sights. I had walked several blocks down Fontainebleau Drive and witnessed several homes and businesses destroyed by the hurricane. Many people have returned to their homes to reclaim what they could. I even helped a man get his beloved kitty cat from the attic rafters of his house.

Further down the road, I heard the voices of a choir. The voices came out bright and clear. They sang a song of praise to a God that by the looks of the surrounding area, has indeed smite them. By the time I made it to the front of the building where the singing was emanating from, the voices sounded like they were in the hundreds. The small church house was in disarray. Once beautiful pieces of stained glass windows were shattered and replaced by ugly boards that were warped from the moisture. There were still murky ponds of water throughout the property and in the adjacent cemetery.

Compelled to see the source of the angelic voices praising a God that allowed nature to strike with such force, I walked into the chapel. To my astonishment, these weren’t the voices of hundreds but merely a dozen or so. A woman played a standard acoustic piano to accompany the voices. There were no microphones amplifying this music. In fact, there wasn’t even electricity to building yet. The pulpit and altar was had several candles flickering to provide illumination that the day’s sun didn’t provide.

At that time, I wasn’t attending church but the energy of the room was compelling so I sat quietly in the last pew. I witnessed the choir sing a few more hymns of joy. The preacher then spoke with a great loudness that left me to wonder if he ever needed a microphone. He testified. He performed prayers. He laid hands of healing on those who were seeking it. When it was all over, he paced to the door in which I slithered in to observe it all.

As he shook hands with the fifty or so parishioners of the congregation, I waited until the end where I shook his hand and asked a question that had been mulling through my head throughout the sermon. I asked the preacher why they returned to this building after so much devastation. I asked why they praised God so loudly as they read sheet music by candlelight.

The preacher paused and gave his answer a moment of thought. When he did answer, it was profound and well spoken:

“Today is the day, which Lord has made. We are to rejoice in it no matter what. The good Father gave me this church fifty years ago and he blesses me today with a congregation that doesn’t want to leave their home. It was God who brought the storm and it is God who will help us recover from that storm. So we sing loudly so that through those storm clouds, he hears our praise. Not because of the dangers that the storm brought but for the opportunities He will allow us. These walls will rebuild but only through God.”

I was absolutely speechless. I walked away from that church and I have yet to return to it. As I walked back to the camp at the SuperDome, I witnessed much of the same that I saw earlier that day. None of it would impact me as much as that preacher did, though. It would take me many travels and many years later to find my place with God again, but that moment will remain with me forever.

The photo above is not from the church in which I visited. Although it resembled the church where I had this discovery.


Politico Rant: What to do when you’ve ran out of options? -or- How I’ve decided to vote for Hillary in 2016.


And so it goes… my political endorsement. For all those that care. I’m going to have to explain myself though.

Hillary Clinton will get my vote in November.

Here’s why:

I don’t vote on party lines. I vote for the person whom most holds my values true and is most likely to fill the role. The only potential candidates that meet a majority of the things that I would like to see in the next president.

I’m a Libertarian but won’t vote third party because I’m also a realist. In my state’s primary election, I cast my vote for Rand Paul. Who subsequently dropped out of the race in pursuance of his Congressional seat campaign. Until a third party makes a strong presence during election season to create an upset and hold its own against the other two parties, the smart vote is with the two biggies.

Bernie Sanders will not likely get the nomination anyway. I’ve been through enough of these elections to know how the game is played. While having some moving ideas on how to evolve our government, he simply hasn’t shown me the “how” only the “why”. He’s an idealist but not a revolutionist.

Trump will likely get the candidacy on the Republican side. The Dark Side flows through this man and it makes him a strong opponent. Those that speak against him get destroyed by brute force. Although he speaks loudly and has come out with his proposed plans and agenda, I’m not entirely convinced he’s serious about the job. I still think that he sees this as some Reality TV show where the winner gets a ton of media coverage and a “fake” bride.


That being said, I still haven’t told you how Hillary got my vote:

First, let me say that I acknowledge that she’s the status quo. Business as usual. Typical Democrat agenda. While not exactly what I feel is needed, I can respect that she will continue on trying to build on what Obama has attempted to do with this country. I, for one, am not one of those who blame Obama for everything. This blame rests on the laurels of our Congress who will do anything to protect their masters. As far as politicians go, Obama really tried to set forth the things in which he drove his campaign on. It was his inexperience with Congress (a first term Senator in 2008) that hurt his chances of making that “Hope and Change” happen. That being said, I think that his track record stands strong despite his constant opposition. If anything, Hillary will continue this momentum into future years.

This isn’t Hillary’s first rodeo. Most millennials won’t remember because well, if you’re 18 and this is your first election, it’s likely you were 10 and not really caring about politics then. Hillary ran for President in 2008 only to be beaten out by a small margin to Obama for the nomination. Again, she knows the game and this will play in her favor as a President. This is why many call her stance on issues wavering. To appease her peers, she will have to say things and make compromise her actual thoughts. Where Obama was an outsider, Hillary is a Congressional insider. Even before she was The Secretary of the State or a New York Senator, she was a First Lady. Which brings me to my next point.

We know that her agenda may be different than her husband’s. If you look at this in a Master/Apprentice sort of perspective, you’ll realize that Hillary may not be all that bad. Her husband ran the country for two terms and is statistically one of our country’s most successful Presidents. Not only did the guy drive the economy surplus the highest that it had been in its entire history, he also did a really good job at keeping our country in favor of the rest of the world. Aggression against our country (in the form of terrorism) was dealt with in a swift and covert manner. Positive welfare reformation. More people going to college. Higher employment. Civil Rights (including LGBT). All positive from Clinton. Not to mention that Bill Clinton was a man of the people. This is a guy that nearly got fired for allegedly having inappropriate relations with an intern. There’s no way that even as a First Lady that she didn’t pick up a few tricks.

So overall, Hillary isn’t looking so bad anymore. I’m not saying that she doesn’t have her flaws. When looking at her history and experience, every day, she appears to be more of a worthy candidate than Trump for certain.


The Best Generation of the Modern World



Which Generation group do you identify with? Are you a Baby Boomer who has survived some of country’s best and worst times? Maybe you’re part of Generation X and can’t ditch the slacker moniker that your parents have placed on you? Even younger still, you could be a Millennial. You were born in the 90s during a time of prosperity and hope for the future. Only for it to be ripped out from under you after the false hype of Y2k. No matter what generation that you identify with, there’s certain factors that will always determine the mark that the generation leaves this on our society.



First, we start with endurance. At the core of the matter, your generation’s longevity will be its own legacy. The only way towards longevity in anything is developing a sense of endurance. I had a conversation awhile back with a man that was well in his 80s. I’m not talking about the 1980s but about a man who was born in a garage during The Great Depression. This was a man who lost his true love and wife while giving birth to their only son. He fought in World War II, the Korean War, and the early part of Vietnam as a United States Marine Corps infantryman. I couldn’t have anything but respect for somebody who has lived through so much and he didn’t seem like he was going anywhere, anytime soon! If anyone could give me perspective on hard living and endurance it was this man and I would be a fool not to take his words to heart. Life is a long and slow race. If you come out fast and strong, the chances are that you’re going to run out of fuel just as quick. It’s better to pace yourself, choose you battles and move accordingly to ensure that you will be able to continue fighting another day. The legacy you leave on this society will be directly reflective of that in which you have endured. There’s simply no replacement for experience.



In a scientific study done many years ago, several people were surveyed prior to their death. They were asked about their final thoughts as they approached death. These people were terminally ill patients, those who have received fatal wounds, and those who were approaching death. Each of these people expressed the same thought. They wish that they would have done more with their lives.

If there’s any one thing that will define a Generation, it is this factor. What kind of impact on society did this generation have? The Boomers created economic prosperity. Generation X kick started the technology revolution. Millennials still have their story to be written but they’re surely on the path towards taking this inherited technology and doing something with it. Do you recognize a pattern here, though? These generations were DOING SOMETHING. They see something that they like and improve on it. They witness something that they don’t like and they initiate the changes. These actions are what define the generation as a whole. They express the ethos and values of the generation.


Risk vs Reward.

There’s a common statement among economists, sociologists, scientists, and even theologists. Without risk there is no reward. As a generation develops, they’ve learned how to endure and they’ve learned that taking action is the key towards making their mark on society. The toughest part to swallow is accepting a certain amount of risk for your actions. Baby Boomers would stand up against racial oppression and a losing war and risk jail and their jobs. Generation X would express themselves through cultural endeavors by creating Hip-Hop, Punk Rock, and Rave thus risking their image with the rest of society. Millennials are using technology to inform others (if not everyone) and risking their privacy.

There’s risk involved in all that we do. The generation that will have provided the most risk for a substantial outcome will be the most victorious. By victorious, I don’t mean in a sense that is better than others. I mean victorious in the sense that the generation will have successfully created a legacy that will carry on for generations. The questions are, as they are for every generation: What are you willing to risk? What will be achieved from this risk? Who will benefit from this risk? The answer to those questions will determine the legacy of your generation.


Although those born during The Great Depression, like my friend that I mentioned earlier, have coined themselves The Greatest Generation, I can’t help but argue. I don’t deny my friend or any of his peers their due diligence. It takes a great bit of all the elements mentioned to live as long as they have. Being part of Generation X, I could also be quite biased. I mean, I haven’t heard of any babies being born in garages as of recent.

Nonetheless, every generation needs to know what has been done before them and respect it. Future generations need to be given the due diligence to expand or change, for good or bad, that in which the previous generations have left them to inherit. The determination of which generation is better is speculative at best but the things mentioned above should be a good gauge.

10 Quintessential Movies that Defined the 80s

I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic lately. My Pandora player has been locked on my “80s Alternative” station since the beginning of the work wek. I’ve been digging through my DVDs and even combing through thrift shop VHS tapes while reminiscing over some great movies. This brought me to thinking about the decade in which I grew up. The decade that forged me as a person and how relevant some of these movies were to my generation.

Now, I bid of you some sympathy. I didn’t compile this list as a be-all/end-all list of iconic movies from the decade. There are plenty out there that will suit fine. What I wanted to convey is a list of movies in every sense of the meaning, defined what living in the 80s was like. I wanted to list movies where the way characters dressed were distinctively from the era. I looked at dialog that used slang only used in 80s and popular catch phrases that would sound like a time machine. Ultimately, I wanted to create a list that would have you longing for the days of shined Reebok soft high tops and feathered hair. If you weren’t there the first time around, then jump in the time machine, load up the Netflix cue, and find a spot on the floor and watch with your parents.


10 – Top Gun (1986)

This quintessential movie had all the things that made the 80s awesome. Directed by Tony Scott and brother of Ridley Scott (of Aliens fame) he was openly gay. Which was a big deal in 1986 but not the reason why this movie makes the list that defines the 80s. In the 80s, fighter jet pilots were like cowboys in westerns. They were hotshot daredevils that defied death and took down America’s enemies from the skies. Tom Cruise becomes a box office star out of this film as a skilled but conflicted pilot with ton of self-doubt. The story even included a gratuitous love scene that was designed specifically around its chart topping power ballad by Berlin. If that isn’t enough for you though, Google “Top Gun Volleyball Scene” to see a scene in all of its 1980s glory.


9 – Short Circuit (1986)

When picking apart an 80s film that deals with technology, I had several to work from. Wargames introduced us to the world of the cyber-hacker (handset modems and all). Terminator painted a good picture for us what would happen if robots and computers decided to become our masters. Both of these films were phenomenal in their portrayal of technology in the 80s but the obscure comedy portrayed all the totally rad bearings that made 1980s tech so strange. The movie is about a robot war machine that gains consciousness by being struck by lightning and wants nothing to do with killing. How could this not be pure 80s goodness? The movie stars a young Steve Guttenberg as a robotics engineer who’s more worried about his defense contract being destroyed by the rouge robot. Then there’s 80s tech staple Fisher Stevens as (go ahead and guess) an Indian technician who is nothing short of amazed by the self-awareness gained by the robot who named himself “Johnny 5” after the 80s song Who’s Johnny. A track by the short lived group El Debarge (more Google homework for you). Combined all this gratuitous 80s pop culture puts Short Circuit on the list.


8 – Platoon (1986)

Having not witnessed the horrors of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s and early 1970s as I was barely even born by the end of the conflict, I honestly cannot attest to the cultural phenomenon that the war had on pop culture some 10-20 years later. In the 80s, we had a huge influx of programming regarding it. From China Beach to fictional rescue attempts of POW prisoners (as portrayed in Rambo), those who were in charge of creating such content made sure that it wasn’t to be forgotten. With that, a very quintessential topic of the 80s was the Vietnam War. Make no mistake, Platoon was as serious as a movie as you could get about the horrors of the war. The movie was written and directed by Oliver Stone, who has made no qualms with presenting historically accurate portrayals. So much that he’s all but about been shunted from Hollywood since the early 90s and making anything that he’s done in the 80s pretty much quintessential and required viewing. What also puts this movie on the map is the astounding acting performance of none other than post-millennial pariah, Charlie Sheen. As the story is told through his eyes, Sheen plays an Army private and newly assigned radio operator (a supposedly non-combative job) for a unit placed on the front lines of the war. His first person narratives are flawless deliveries of the horrors. I’m also told that a very young Johnny Depp plays a small part in the movie (*wink, wink*).


7 – Krush Groove (1985)

I can hear you groaning right now. No seriously. I can even see your wince through the screen. If you’ve gone this far, you’re now asking yourself how this movie could have possibly been culturally relevant in the 1980s. Well let me help you with that. You see, it was 1985 and we didn’t have “reality tv” then. Krush Groove tells the story of the beginnings of Def Jam records. For those not in the know, Def Jam was responsible for the likes of Run DMC, New Edition, and the legendary Kurtis Blow. Some things were adapted for dramatic purposes but the cultural relevance of hip-hop as a whole is genuinely a product of the 80s. Then there’s the addition of iconic 80s artists like Sheila E and the (not so iconic) Fat Boys. Overall, what makes this quintessential 80s is the music and fashion surrounding it. There’s absolutely no way that you watch this film and not know that this was set in the 80s.


6 – Goonies (1985)

Another common theme of 80s pop culture was a resurgence of two types of movies. The first was the “buddy flick”. You know, a group of pals get into mischief together while strengthening their bonds. Only to realize that childhood is only a minor part of their lives. Movies like the Outsiders and Stand By Me come into mind immediately. The problem with those two amazing movies, though is that they’re set in other time periods. So any kind of decade references to the 80s (and thus making a defining move of the decade) would not be well kept. Fine movies as they are, they’re not quintessentially representative of the 1980s. Goonies, on the other hand, is an example of a fun “buddy flick” that also implements a second common theme of the 80s. That being the cheesy horror movie. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, think of movies like Nightmare on Elm Street or anything directed by John Carpenter. By combining both of these elements, throwing in relevant cultural references, and a funky theme song by Cyndi Lauper you have the recipe for a movie destined for 80s infamy.

5 – Purple Rain (1984)


So were here at the midway of the list and as I review the upper five movies, I’m forced to really define this list. I’m forced to look back upon my own childhood and young adulthood and ask myself to define the things that made the 1980s so unique. One of those things that I can recall that was genuinely unique to the decade was the family structure. The movie Purple Rain starred R&B rocker Prince in a story that was rumored to be his own autobiography. Whether or not it is true, we’ll never know but “The Purple One” gave an outstanding performance as he portrayed a young, struggling musician who went against all odds to achieve success. We witnessed a broken home life that was similar to our own as young adults desperately seeking to discover who we are. The platinum selling album soundtrack by Prince and his band The Revolution was a definitive musical expression of being young in the decade. The song “When Doves Cry” portrays an abusive home life and negative influences from people who are supposed to care. While “Let’s Go Crazy” starts in a prophetic sermon asking the listener to gather and celebrate life (rather than mourn it). The music and imagery combined makes this not only one of the most quintessential movies that defined the decade but an iconic example as well.



4 – Wall Street (1987)


One of the most predominant ideals set forth during what has been called “The Me Decade” is the acquisition of monetary wealth. This is so true even today that our society has evolved to make the idea of becoming rich a priority. This came about in the 80s and it began no other than places like the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. In a world where money is power, Michael Douglas portrays the crowned monarch of Wall Street. A position that many are chomping at the bit to push him off at any cost and a spot that Douglas’ character will fight for the same. In this movie we get to see what the true price of greed is as cutthroat stock brokers buy, sell, and trade just about anything to get ahead and make money. This movie portrays what many of the decade consider to be the worst in all of us. Where, as Douglas’ character put it, “Greed is good.” This is the core of “Voodoo Economics” and the images of everything that drove many people to substance abuse, inhumanity, and even suicide. It also drives a steady picture into the viewers’ head of the darker side of the economic boom of the 80s and therefore makes it one of the decade’s most iconic movies.



3 – Red Dawn (1984)


If there’s any one lesson that you learned growing up in the 1980s is that Communism (and its predecessor, Socialism) is bad. The Soviet Union was bad and although they were our allies in two World Wars and a handful of conflicts, they were out to destroy Democracy in the United States. What we learned later on is all they really wanted was our Levi’s, our music, and our cars. Nonetheless in 1984 those big bad Ruskies were a definite threat to the American way of life, or so we were told. The movie Red Dawn depicted this ever looming threat in full force as the Soviet Occupation of America takes hold in our country’s heartland. What made this movie so depictive of the era is not only its cast of Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen (who has already starred in the war movie, Platoon), Lea Thompson (America’s girl next door), and an up-and-coming Jennifer Grey but also their roles. It wasn’t uncommon to cast actors well into their twenties for teenage roles. Mostly because many of the child actors of the day were now of age. Typecasting was a very real thing in the 80s. Not to mention changes in child labor laws making it a bit more difficult to employ actual teenagers. Nonetheless, these mid-America “teens” rally together a freedom fighting force to overthrow the Communist invaders thus showing a great deal of American patriotism as well as all the other things that make this country the best nation on the planet. *That’s just great 80s culture at its most paramount.*



2 – Less Than Zero (1987)


Moving along from the flag waiving hoo-hah of our number three movie, we launch right into that in which is truly the most understated but greatest underlying issue of the country at the time. Between the definitive social class separation of the “haves” and “have-nots” we also have a growing drug problem in the country. Well, at least we’re supposed to believe that we do. As children, we’re drilled with slogans like “Just Say No” and groups like “D.A.R.E.” (which to this day, I can’t remember what it means). We see our parents who smoke their way into cancer induced comas or pound a fifth of liquor as a means to escape the dredges of their lives, yet we’re supposed to kindly disregard the prospect of a drug like cocaine? If you don’t see the absurdity in this right here and now, I suggest you stop reading this and spend some time amongst your fellow humans. Wait a minute, though. If only losers use drugs, why is a rich kid (portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr.) doing them? He’s got it all, right? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out where this story goes. The teenaged Iron Man played the role of a lifetime opposite the ultra-controlling drug dealer played by James Spader (voice of Ultron). Perhaps it’s because he actually had a serious problem that put him in jail and rehab. There’s several reasons why you won’t be able to watch this movie without saying how much it feels like the 80s. Don’t let that stop you, though, because behind all the neon, polyester, and “Miami Vice” stereotypes there’s actually a really good movie in there that defined a generation.

(Honorable Mention for this category: Bright Lights, Big City – get this soundtrack!)


1 – The Breakfast Club (1985)


If one was to place the finger on one single movie producer that summed up the 80s in a two hour reel of film, that honor would have to go to none other than John Hughes. This was a man who knew how to put together a story that every kid growing up in the 80s would relate to. This entire list could consist of his movies for various reasons but in all fairness and variety, I chose to narrow it down to the 1985 classic, The Breakfast Club. The entire main cast consisted of the hottest young actors of the decade and catching them in their prime. They became to be known as core of the group dubbed, The Brat Pack. In this movie, every 80s teenage stereotype was represented. You had the Goth or “basket case” portrayed by Ally Sheedy. You had the rebel portrayed by Judd Nelson. The outcast nerd performed by Anthony Michael Hall. There was John Hughes go-to-girl, Molly Ringwold who played the popular girl or “princess” named Claire. To round the cast evenly, Hughes cast a Sheen to the squad with Emilio Estevez as the ever-so-serious and take charge athlete. Hands down, this movie is everything totally awesome about the 80s. The ending and title track by Simple Minds is the anthem of all anthems for all 80s kids. The clever writing and interactions between the characters and even the adults makes this one a timeless classic among classics.


Yes, these movies will appear as being dated but that’s what makes the 80s so iconic. The looks, the way the characters talked, even many of the scenarios will strike you as being almost campy. Yet, in all of that is what makes the 80s so incredibly awesome. You can’t recreate the vibe or energy that transpired those years. You can surely emulate them as many try to do with remakes but you’ll never be able to capture the feeling we got when the loser gave the prom queen his ear ring. You can’t summarize the excitement you felt watching an ace fighter pilot fly over his opponent and “improving communications.” You won’t be able to feel the apathy towards a soldier from a generation before like that. Those moments are captured forever in these films. When you watch these movies (and I highly suggest that you do!), take in all the nuances and lines as part of the culture as a whole. Then you’ll get what it was like to be living in one of the greatest decades of our history.



Why Millennials Need to STFU and Listen to Their Parents


The Harsh Reality

I know this is harsh or as millennials say, savage AF. The reality of truth is savage, though. This 2016 election is savagery. This election cycle, the dominating candidates are doing so well because they’ve tapped into a demographic that traditionally isn’t a major force. The 18-30 year old voter hasn’t been a determining factor in the polls. This election cycle is different. With millennials actively utilizing tools like social media to meet or even in some areas, exceeding the numbers of their parents. This is impressive, yes, but fool-hearted efforts are still for fools. So it’s time for those of us who have been through it enough times to employ some methods of tough love in order to get the message out.

Millennials like to use the past as their guideline, despite any first-hand knowledge. They cite examples of previous leaders whom many claim revolutionized our country. They do so using second hand knowledge from sources primarily based on the expressions and opinions of others like them that spin a cycle of misinformation. That misinformation is then spun into some kind of factual evidence supporting theories that worked under vastly different conditions many, many years ago. My message to Millennials in this writing is direct, simple, and clear. Listen to those who have been there, done that, and still have the bumper sticker on the car that they’ve finally just paid off.

If you’re not convinced (why would you be, right?) yet, I ask that you read further. I’ve annotated various reasons why being so dismissive of your parent’s ideas are wrong. Your choice is to either remain ignorant to truth or remain in your myopic viewpoint or you can take this information with a grain of salt and digest it how you please.

Either way, choice is an entitled privilege that each of you have.

1) Reagan Years

Baby Boomers herald Ronald Reagan as one of countries greatest modern day presidents. Republicans and extreme right-wing ideologists put the man on a pedestal second only to God and Jesus Christ. What you don’t hear about these days is that Ronald Reagan was ultimately responsible for a great deal of the many problems that plague our country today. Wall Street was deregulated, allowing banks and investors to run amok. “Voodoo Economics” is the predecessor of “Trickle Down” economics. ISIS, Iran, even Saddam Hussein was supplied by our massively expanding military complex infrastructure. All in the name of protecting oil rights. The 80s as a whole were a very greedy decade. There’s a reason why history recalls those years as “The Me Decade.”

We had the highest level of drug criminalization of any decade. “Just Say No” was plastered all over. Marijuana, despite being in use by our parents was being chastised and called a “gateway drug” without any proof. Our parents favored illicit drug, cocaine, somehow made a transformation into Crack Cocaine and made it affordable for even those on welfare to do right alongside the methamphetamine. While prescription drugs were available, they were limited. Thus leaving us with literally no legal way to get high and the penalties were harsh.


2) Clinton Prosperity

We’ve lived through one Clinton already, and it was good. For most parents of millennials, voting for Bill Clinton was a relief. We were only kids during the Reagan years only to be followed by George H.W. Bush. Which was literally just four more years of the Reagan Years. The 1993 election, Generation X, deemed slackers by their predecessors, became involved and Clinton won by a landslide. If anything, Clinton offered us an opportunity for genuine change which was inevitable to come. By the end of his term, he not only managed to dodge an impeachment (a clear motivator by his opposition) but he also doubled our nation’s economy standing. Jobs were on the rise. Our country had a surplus of money that was greater than it had been in decades. People were genuinely living a good life. They were living a good life that they wanted to live. This is the core of what many Millennials believe to be a dead concept – The American Dream. If anything Generation X can be faulted upon is that when things are good, we tend to get comfortable. When we get comfortable, we tend to slack off a bit. What we forgot is that Baby Boomers and those adults from the 80s were still in a position to run things. That’s where George W. Bush happened.


3) We’re Outsiders, too!

Parents of millennials were part of a generation that Baby Boomers practically wrote off as potential failures. Generation X (as we were called) were considered slackers, losers, pot smoking, and free-loading kids who didn’t appreciate that in which was inherited by the Boomers. Do your research. After nearly a decade of peace and prosperity, during a time where we were coming of age, living under the rule of George W. Bush was harshing our buzz. We campaigned hard for John Kerry. We discovered third parties like the Green Party and we voted for Ross Perot. We were, by every definition of the term, outsiders throughout most of entire adult lives. The one thing that defines Generation X is that we lived life by our own terms. We’ve been busted, bruised, bullied, and let down by our predecessors. Pass or fail the fate of the world rests in our hands.

We aren’t going down without a fight, though. Gen X’ers began to revel in some of things that made our generation great. Legal pot, Apple, electronic dance music, smart phones, downloadable music, and even social media all have one thing in common. It was Generation X that put into conception these ideas and put them into motion for you to enjoy today. We worked hard for this. We put ourselves through college. We were bullied. We were challenged at every turn. We were, for the most part, not the status quo.


4) We know the system is flawed!

If there’s any of a generation that understands how flawed the system is, it’s a Millennial’s parent. Remember that we created Punk Rock to express our disdain for the establishment. Urban Gen X’ers designed Hip-Hop as a means to deliver a voice speaking about what’s going on the ghettos. George W. Bush lost the popular vote twice but managed to sit in the seat for both terms. After decades of peace, Bush was sending our generation to what would turn out to be an endless war to fight an enemy that our country created. No matter how hard we fight. No matter how hard we resist, the strength and power rests with our predecessors that are protecting their own interests since they don’t trust us to be able to handle the affairs of the world for the benefit of all.

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”  – Aldous Huxley (Author of Brave New World)

For many of us, we were just starting our families having you. We want to protect that legacy and one thing that crosses every millennial parent’s mind is that we weren’t bringing you into a world that we wouldn’t want to live in ourselves. Millennial, we’re with you on this fight but you have to understand a few things. We’ve been where you’re at and I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before… but this time, please listen. This isn’t just your world that could implode. It’s a world where we all need to coexist. Millennials, Generation X, and yes Baby Boomers need to take a step back and analyze their doing. Step outside oneself for a moment and see how your actions affect everyone not just what you think is right for you.

For many Millennials, this is their first election. For your parents, not so much. We voted, in force since the 90s mind you, and were promised all the same things that some of the candidates are promising you. Change comes from within. This holds true not only with self but with all things. If you try to force change by enforcing personal methods and manipulating the situation to favor your situation, then you’re no better than the opposition. Hope is a motivator, sure but it’s only as good as those who are buying it. As a parent of Millennials and Gen X’er, I’ve bared witness to a great many things for better or worse.  My One is doomed to repeat history if they choose to ignore it.