"We have it in our power to begin the world over again."

Loretta Lynch Wins The Week

Just a few days ago U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch threw down the gauntlet on North Carolina and its outrageous discriminatory “bathroom” bill.   The U.S. government is suing the state of North Carolina and its Governor, Pat McCrory, over this bullshit law because it violates federal civil rights laws.  When a state passes a law that blatantly discriminates against specific groups of people for bogus and ludicrous reasons, the federal government has the right and the DUTY to step in and do something about it. Bravo to the Department of Justice and the Obama Administration for doing the right thing.

When I watched the video, it brought tears to my eyes.  It was a powerful, genuine and passionate speech.  On top of articulately explaining why the “bathroom” law violates civil rights, Attorney General Lynch talked about how our nation was founded on the ideal of equality, and highlighted the progress the country has made over the years in moving towards equality for all, despite many difficult struggles along the way.

If you are a member of the LGBT community, I hope you know that most of us proudly stand with you in solidarity.  You are NOT alone.

Please, take 7 minutes to watch this video.  It was a historic moment.

 

What Are Millennials?

Millennials are the most discussed and studied generation in history.  Well, I don’t know that for a fact but I would be shocked if we weren’t.  Unfortunately, the majority of what is said about us is either negative or contradictory (i.e. one article says we are smart and highly motivated, but the vast majority of articles say that we are stupid and lazy).  Most of it is just people’s opinion that is not backed up with factual evidence, so if someone is doing research on Millennials they will have to sort through a whole host of BS in order to find any real information of value.

I have a page here at The Millennial Legacy that briefly discusses Millennials, as well as subpages that give in-depth reviews of defining characteristics of Millennials.  In fact, according to Google Analytics, the most visited and shared page of this website is the “What is a Millennial” page.  So that goes to show you just how much people are trying to figure us out — you know, because we are such an enigma.

Mic, a Millennial-run online news source, just posted a good little video to Facebook summing up the contradictory and confusing information about who exactly are Millennials.  Apparently Baby Boomers (who just so happen to be our parents) aren’t too fond of us.

Why I Believe the Future is Bright

When I decided to start this blog, I really only had one objective:  to inspire and empower members of the Millennial Generation to build a better future.  Throughout the last five years, this website has been a labor of love. Many times I have faltered in my dedication to it, but I’ve never completely abandoned it.

You might surmise that my periods of apathy were because I felt that there was no hope for the future. With all the terrible things happening in the world today, and with the declining state of our country, there is a pervading attitude of doom and gloom.  But the tough times that we live in are actually what motivate me, and are a big part of the reason why I have always gravitated back to my modest little blog.

I just cannot sit on my hands and do nothing as my country and the world continue down a path of destruction, especially because I know that humanity is capable of so much more than this. A better world is possible, if we believe that it is.  However, I do understand why so many people are discouraged and cynical.  All you ever hear about is the bad stuff — the “news” hardly ever covers the good stuff.

Nonetheless, while I understand the cynicism, I do not agree with that mindset, as it is only holding us back from trying to make things better — from evolving and awakening to our true potential as a species.  We need to change our attitude from one of fear and despair to one of hope and resolve.

Truthfully, there are many good reasons to feel hopeful for the future.  I could write a 50,000 word blog post on it.  But in the interest of time, below I’ve outlined three simple yet powerful reasons why we shouldn’t let fear and cynicism get the better of us.

(1)  While there is some substantial negativity in the world, there is far more goodness. It is so important that we don’t lose sight of this.  Think about it:  there are over seven billion people on this planet, and probably about 90% of us are decent people with good intentions and generous hearts.  Very few people are downright cruel and immoral, and even though some people make bad decisions, most of them are not inherently bad people.

Because of the age of the internet, social media and twenty-four hour news channels, we have constant exposure to negative news. It really grinds my gears how much the media focuses on the negative, because in truth there is more good happening in the world than there is bad. So we cannot allow the lopsided nature of the news to skew our outlook on the world.

Think about the kind, everyday gestures of regular people:  paying for someone’s meal when they don’t have enough money, giving a stranger a hug when they see that they are sad and crying, assisting someone who is in physical pain, volunteering their time to help the homeless or sick patients and their families in local hospitals, walking dogs at a local animal shelter, planting trees and cleaning up public parks, volunteering as free tutors for local school children.  These are common things that the vast majority of us do (at least every once in a while), and we do it because we genuinely care about one another and have an innate desire to make the world a better place — whether we realize that is a main motivator or not.

And even when horrific things do happen, focus on how the majority of the world responds. Take the recent terrorist attacks, for example.  The overwhelming consensus afterwards is always that we must rise above the fear and hate and come together as one. Millions of people donate to funds and charities that help the victims, and billions of us share kind, loving words of support and solidarity on social media. Yes, some people use these events for the purposes of fear-mongering and generating more intolerance and hate (like certain presidential candidates), but the vast majority of us choose to do the opposite. We choose love, compassion and empathy. Remember this.  Focus on this.  Engage in this.

Fear, not hate, is the real reason why there are bad people in the world.  The fear manifests as hate, intolerance and cruelty.  Some people are afraid of anyone who doesn’t look them, think like them or act like them. Instead of embracing and celebrating humanity’s diversity, they are scared of it. And sometimes their fear is so great that they will go to extreme lengths to eliminate those that they falsely believe threaten them and their way of life.

Fear controls our ego, and our egos (aka our minds) have controlled humans since the “dawn of humanity”. But finally people are starting to awaken and become conscious of the fact that the labels we give ourselves — like those based on religion or nationality — are meaningless in the grand scheme of things.  We are recognizing that fear, hate, intolerance and ignorance is a recipe for extinction.

Know that humanity is inherently good.  That is why during our evolution of consciousness we have become more loving, peaceful, compassionate and empathetic. And when we choose to embrace these positive qualities, we are putting that positive energy out into the universe, intensifying and strengthening it. Positive energy has a much higher and stronger vibration than negative energy.  So the more compassionate we are, the more we raise our vibration, both individually and collectively.

When we respond to acts of terror, or any act of cruelty and violence, with corresponding fear, intolerance and hate we are only giving more negative energy to the actions of those very few people who genuinely wish to do harm to others.  We are, in effect, fueling their fire. But if we choose love and compassion, thoughtfulness and peace then we are shining a bright light of positivity on the darkness of their hearts. Darkness cannot live where light shines.  So shine on my friends!  Open your hearts to light and love — it’s the only way to overcome fear and hate.

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(2) The problems we face are numerous and, in some cases, quite dire, but they aren’t insurmountable. Keep in mind that humanity has overcome tough times before (e.g. both World Wars). And in its short history our nation has faced many periods of crisis.  We didn’t give up then and we sure as hell shouldn’t now.

The one thing we must never do is give up hope.  When hope is lost, all is lost.  For example, if you faced an obstacle that was extremely difficult, but you believed you could succeed, you would still try. In the end you may not overcome the obstacle, but dang-it you would give it your all! However, if you didn’t think you could succeed (thus, you were hopeless) then you most likely wouldn’t even try — because what’s the point, right? As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

When the founding generation of Americans waged war against the British Empire, they knew that their chances of victory weren’t great.  It was a huge risk, but they believed in themselves and their cause, and even though they had little money, a mostly untrained army, were constantly short on military supplies, clothing and food, and had suffered massive defeats early on in the war, they persevered and ultimately won.  They had hope — no matter how badly the war was going — and that is what fueled their resolve.  If at any time they had lost hope then our great country wouldn’t exist.

The issues we face today are pretty extreme, but they are also mostly of our doing.  If we got ourselves into this mess then we can certainly find ways to get out of this mess!  But first and foremost we must believe that we can, because without hope, we won’t even try. So stop being a Negative Nancy!

It sounds so simple and cliche but hope is what keeps us driving forward.  This one little thing packs a powerful punch.  It fuels our faith in ourselves and our cause(s). Without it, we wouldn’t have progressed this much as a species. Hope is what gave us electricity, automobiles, modern medicine, space exploration, and most of all has guided humanity towards more peace, love and empathy.

The energy behind hope is unrelentingly positive.  That is why it is so powerful!  When you truly believe that you can accomplish something, you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. So have hope in the goodness and inventiveness of humanity.  Believe that we can overcome the obstacles we face.  Believe that we will change this world for the better.  As long as we still have hope, there is nothing we can’t do.

(3)  We have a choice — always, because of free will — and the future of our country and the world depends on how we choose.  Will we choose hope or despair?  All in all, everything boils down to these two choices.  If we choose hope we give ourselves a fighting chance for a better future, not just for us but for forthcoming generations (i.e. your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. — and don’t you think we owe it to them to at least try?).

If we choose despair then the world will continue to spiral into pandemonium.  The problems we face today will worsen to the point of no return.  We will have wasted an incredible opportunity to push humanity into a new era of peace, prosperity and sustainability.  We will have chosen to let fear and cynicism win.

Truly, the consequences of our choice are massive.  One choice leads to a better world, a better country and a better future; the other leads to total chaos. And remember, the problems we face can still be fixed.  It will take a lot of hard work (and teamwork), dedication and fortitude, but we can do it.

I know it’s tempting to give into cynicism, but please, please don’t.  Cynicism is a nasty disease that invades and rots our soul.  It has incredibly negative energy that makes it like a blackhole, sucking up everything around it and not letting any light through.  At the root of cynicism is deep, profound fear.  In other words, cynicism is our ego on steroids. So do yourself, our country and the future of the world a favor and check your cynicism. Choose hope and love instead.

I have no idea how many people will read this post — maybe a few hundred, maybe a few million. I do hope it’s the latter, and I hope that those who read it will be more conscious of the goodness of humanity, of the power of hope and of the fact that we can choose to make the world a better place.

I know that the Millennial Generation is capable of changing the United States and the world in a profoundly positive way. I believe that with every fiber of my being, and I want to do whatever I can to reach as many Millennials as possible, helping them to believe this too. I will never stop trying to inspire and empower Millennials to build a better future. That is my passion, which is why I know it’s my soul’s purpose. And that is the ultimate reason why I’ve never given up on this website — because my soul just won’t let me.

I won’t give up on this website just like I won’t give up on the Millennial Generation.  We all have a soul’s purpose that is unique to each individual, but it is also true that every generation has a collective destiny of its own.  For Millennials, our destiny is to change the world.  A daunting task, yes, but an incredibly rewarding one.  And our generational legacy depends on whether we fulfill our destiny or not.

So please, choose hope over cynicism and love over fear.  One day, when all of us have made this choice, the world will be at peace.

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The Best Exercises for Anxiety and Stress

The Best Exercises to Shrink Anxiety & Stress

By:  Lauren Byrd

If you exercise regularly, then you probably know the feeling of those awesome endorphins that are released after a workout. If you work a stressful job or deal with anxiety, sometimes all you need is a little activity to get your mind off your problems and clear your head.

Since Millennials tend to be more anxious and depressed than other generations, committing to a steady workout routine can help combat this issue.

Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Check out some exercises below that will boost your energy and provide some stress relief.

Yoga

When you think of a stress-relieving exercise, yoga is probably one of the first to come to mind. With a series of moving and stationary poses as well as deep-breathing techniques, yoga is sure to cleanse your mind and spirit. Yoga provides a great stretch and keeps your body relaxed.

Yoga poses can also be a great way to cool down and stretch after an intense training session. I try to always do the cat, cow, and the child’s pose. There are many benefits to practicing yoga like improving balance and posture as well.

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Get Outdoors!

Outdoor activities like running, walking, biking, climbing and swimming can provide the change of scenery you may need to relieve some stress. Staring at a computer screen all day at work can be tiring, so getting outside to enjoy the fresh air can help clear your mind.

I think that we are spending less and less time outside as we are becoming more reliant on technology, and we need to get back in the habit of enjoying the outdoors.

Join a Rec Sports Team

Many cities have adult group sports and leagues that you can join, such as an adult kickball league. A rec sports team can be a great way to surround yourself with other people your age who want to have some fun and get some exercise.

Don’t make yourself think that rec sports teams are only for kids, adults can have fun too! Being on a rec team provides you with more social opportunities and lots of fun with just a touch of competition. Sports leagues unite people through fitness and can be a way to get your group of friends together to catch up and exercise at the same time!

If you can’t commit to a regular workout routine every day, try to at least get up from your desk and take a walk in the morning and afternoon. Recently, I have decided to commit to walking around my apartment complex for around 15-30 minutes. Sometimes it’s more and sometimes it’s less. One thing is for sure though – I always feel so much better and relaxed after taking a quick walk.

There are many benefits to exercising, but I think that the stress relief it provides is by far one of the most rewarding.

What are some exercises that you do when you are stressed? I would love to hear about them!

By Guest Author: Lauren Byrd

Lauren is a contributing writer for Orangetheory Fitness. She regularly produces content for a variety of lifestyle and fitness blogs. She loves to spend her free time traveling and being active.

Our Democracy is in Serious Trouble and the American People are to Blame

Our democracy is in serious trouble. It is on life support, clinging to hope that it will be revived. But this isn’t something that happened suddenly and without warning.  Slowly, our democracy has eroded. The sad reason for this: Americans have been ignoring their duties as citizens of a democracy for decades now.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. You cannot sit on the sidelines and allow others to have control while you bitch and complain about the awful state of the country. In a democracy, the people have to participate.  They have to vote, they have to be informed of the issues, they have to be vocal about what they want and don’t want, and about the issues that are important to them.  Our leaders are accountable to us. But if we aren’t aware of the facts surrounding important issues, and if we don’t vote, and if we don’t communicate with our representatives, then we are failing to do our duty as citizens of a democracy.

The citizens are the lifeblood of the Republic. The buck stops with us — not the president, or Congress. We, the people, are in charge.  The problem is we have willing relinquished our control over our democracy and handed it over to lobbyists and special interests, who, as we all know, have a stranglehold on Washington today.

So we have two choices: we can continue to believe that nothing will ever change in Washington, and thus remain apathetic and disengaged; OR, we can take our power back. Because the truth is it isn’t Washington that needs to change, it’s the American people that need to change.

In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Things do not change; we change.” And as Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” A democracy is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  So WE THE PEOPLE need to change if we want to save our democracy.

It is well known how much power lobbyists and special interests have in Washington. But how did they get all of this power? As already noted, the American people gave it to them. Think about it. If we voted in higher numbers then our political leaders would have to listen to us, because our votes are what keep politicians in office.  Big oil can give Politician A hundreds of thousands of dollars, but if Politician A doesn’t listen to his constituents, he likely won’t get their votes.  And without votes, Politician A loses his job. However, if his constituents don’t vote, he doesn’t need to worry.  He’ll gladly take the contribution from Big Oil and work on their behalf.

Since Americans aren’t voting in high enough numbers to rival the money of lobbyists and special interests, our politicians work for them, not the American people. Take the NRA, for example. The vast majority of Americans –and even a large majority of NRA members — believe that our nation needs to strengthen gun laws. However, Washington is highly unlikely to do so because the NRA’s money is more powerful than the voters — simply because not enough people vote. Honestly, how else would you explain the power the NRA has in Washington?  The only thing more powerful than money is votes.

To further prove why votes are so powerful, let’s examine why our government spends over four times as much money on Americans over 60 than Americans under 30. It’s simple: Americans over 60 vote in much higher numbers than young people. Therefore older Americans are a much bigger threat to politicians’ incumbency than young Americans, so politicians focus on — and give more federal money to — issues that are more of a concern to older Americans.

As you can see, one of the easiest and most effective ways Americans can begin to take our power back is to start voting — in EVERY election.  Even those pesky midterms, folks. Congress’ incumbency rate is 90%; however Congress has about a 12% approval rating. How is it that there is such a high incumbency rate for a group of people that consistently gets a grade of F- for job performance?  It’s because people don’t care enough to vote them out of office. If we don’t like what they are doing or how they are representing us, then come Election Day we need to fire their good-for-nothing asses.

And yes, I know that oftentimes — in fact most of the time — we are forced to pick the lesser of two evils on Election Day, but that is a perfect transition into my next point:  we need to be more involved in the political process. Our participation in our democracy isn’t exclusive to voting every two years. We have to keep ourselves informed of the important issues facing our country and the world, and we need to know where the candidates stand on these issues. Furthermore, we should write letters or emails to our elected officials, call their offices, attend town hall meetings, and even become lobbyists ourselves.

Many Americans are dangerously uninformed and/or misinformed. This is such a critical problem because the less informed we are, the more our democracy suffers.  Ignorance is like kryptonite to a democracy.  If we don’t know the facts surrounding important issues — like healthcare or fiscal policy or terrorism — then how we can know that our leaders are making the best policy decisions regarding these issues?

What is even more dangerous is that people tend to form opinions on issues even when they don’t know anything about the issue in question. And then when presented with facts that contradict their opinion, thus proving they are wrong, most people will still continue to believe that they are right. This is called cognitive dissonance, and unfortunately many Americans are guilty of it.

In order to arm ourselves from ineffective and incompetent leaders, we need to make sure we are staying informed.  And then as informed voters we need to actually vote. And after we vote we then need to remain aware of the decisions our elected leaders are making.  If we don’t like those decisions we should tell them.  If there is an important vote coming up, we need to let our leaders know how we feel about the issue. If there is an issue that is important to us and we want our representatives to pay attention to it, then we need to tell them. This is not only our right it is our duty.

It amazes me how many times I hear people say that their vote doesn’t count, or that Washington will never change, and that all politicians are the same so it doesn’t matter who is in office. I know that our leadership in Washington right now is about as useful as an umbrella in a monsoon, but before we point fingers and accuse them of not doing their jobs, what about the job we are doing as citizens?  If we were graded on job performance we would get an F- as well.

My point is that we can’t get mad at our political leadership for not doing their job when we don’t do our job either.  We can’t be complacent bystanders in our democracy — we have to be active participants. I’m sick of hearing that things will never change in Washington.  Things will never change unless we make them — because change sure as hell isn’t going to come from the politicians!  The way things are right now — with low voter participation and a very high incumbency rate — that greatly benefits them.  They want things to stay exactly as they are.  If we want change we have to be the catalyst — we have to be the change.

When a government is ruled by the people, the people have to be involved.  We aren’t involved, at least not anywhere near the level that we should be involved.  Progress in a democracy can’t be made when we are sitting on our hands, bitching and complaining about how bad things have gotten.  If we want things to change then we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work on making things better.  We, the people, are in charge.  We, the people, are what really make our country strong.  In a healthy, thriving democracy the people are well informed, they are active in their civic duties, and they assert their authority as the true rulers.

Right now, we have the exact kind of democracy that we deserve — a failing one.  If we don’t want to vote, if we don’t want to keep ourselves informed, if we refuse to listen to facts and reason and logic, if we don’t want to keep our leaders in check then WE THE PEOPLE are responsible for the damage done to our democracy. This isn’t the government’s fault. It’s our fault.  Being citizens of a democracy takes constant work and it is also a large responsibility. If we don’t take this responsibility seriously then our democracy will most certainly suffer as a result.

So, my friends, let’s make 2016 the year that we take our power back and restore our democracy.  The alternative is giving up the little power we have left, and I don’t know about you but that is simply unacceptable to me.

Please, if you agree with what I’ve wrote, then share this post.  Help me spread the word. Let’s start a movement to restore our beloved democracy.

#takeourpowerback  #restoredemocracy2016

Guest Post: The Hidden Risks To Our Health

The Hidden Risks To Our Health

By:  Helen Baynes

We Millennials have our fair share of problems, which are not necessarily our fault.  It’s just the world we were born into. Saddled with large amounts of debt, the college-educated are having problems finding jobs and most likely will continue to do so in the future. Millennials also have to contend with a rapidly changing environment due to climate change, overseas wars  and global terrorism, and not to mention that we’ll likely have to work longer and harder than every generation before us.

On top of all of this, many of us are facing dangers to our health that we don’t even know about, or rarely think about. The good news is that there is plenty of information about these health hazards.  Read on to find out about how you can avoid or lesson the chances that you will fall prey to some common hidden dangers to your health.

Alcohol

The health revolution that happened with smoking never quite took off with alcohol. Perhaps we knew deep down that alcohol served a purpose in a way that smoking never could, no matter how unhealthy that purpose might actually be. Whatever the reason, we’re drinking more than ever. While many of us can enjoy it for what it is – a way to relax and be social – there are many among of us who are taking it too far, too regularly. Drinking among women is on the rise, and men still drink more than women, so it’s a hazard for all. Aside from dulling our intellect and making us less likely to be proactive, binge drinking can cause heart disease, cancer, and a host of other serious health problems. By all means enjoy a few drinks, but bear in mind the longer term effects it could be having.

Depression and Anxiety

Millennials are, unfortunately, a depressed and anxious bunch. One study found that up to 44% of college students experienced some form of depression. Indeed, these are challenging times for Millennials. We’re put under a lot of pressure, both by ourselves and our parents. The competitive job market has us fighting each other tooth and nail only to get the job and realize, finally, that it doesn’t deliver everything we wanted. We’re a generation raised on advertisements and promises of extraordinary lives. However, when our lives ultimately fail to live up to those high promises, the disappointment manifests itself in depression.

Anxiety, too, is also on the rise. Despite being – or perhaps because we are – highly educated, we’re returning to primitive worries about being a failure, left behind, directionless, etc. This can manifest itself in alarming ways, such as dizziness, insomnia, and an aching body, or it can just leave us with an undercurrent of self-doubt and nerves. Either way, it’s not fun to live like this. Some helpful ways to combat anxiety are to try meditation, limit the use of alcohol and caffeine, and exercise.

Obesity

It might be surprising, given the lengths we go to to make sure we are at our best, but obesity is a challenge that Millennials are already facing, and it’s likely to get worse. This is due in large part to the jobs we’ll have and how we communicate. Sitting in front of a screen doesn’t do us our body any favors. When you combine a commute in the car, to only then sit in front of a computer screen, to then only wearily return home and slump in front of a television, we have a whole generation who are less naturally active than previous generations. To make things worse, our extensive screen time is making us more isolated and perhaps even more depressed, too. Fortunately we can remedy this by being aware of how much screen time we’re getting and how we get to and from work. Cycle instead of driving, use the stairs instead of elevators, and do your best to be active in the evening – even 20 minutes of activity will give your body a big boost.

While true that Millennials are doing plenty of good things, we still have to be careful. Just by the sheer virtue of living in this age we’re liable to fall victim to many disorders and illnesses without even realizing it. By taking the time to check our physical and mental health from time to time, we can ensure we’re happy and healthy to see our big plans through.

Happy International Women’s Day!!!

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a day that has celebrated the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women for more than 100 years. But despite the many accomplishments of women, there is still much progress to made in gender equality.  It is estimated that the gender gap will not close until 2133. That is simply unacceptable and will continue to be a hindrance to human progress.  We must double-down on our efforts for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Go to the International Women’s Day website to make a pledge for gender parity.

 

 

Some Necessary Truth

This is so true — sad but very, very true.

 

Please Millennials, Get Out and Vote!

I’ve felt for quite some time that the 2016 General Election was going to be a somewhat of a coming out party for Millennials.  But now that we are starting to get a picture of who the Republican nominee will be, I feel that it MUST be a coming out party for Millennials.

It looks like a slam dunk that Donald Trump will be elected the Republican nominee.  This is so frightening I don’t even know where to begin.  But the scariest thing about this to me is how many people actually believe that he will make a good president.  What the fuck?

I understand that people want an outsider because they think that is what our government needs. But would you hire someone with zero business experience to run a fortune 500 company? If you would then you’re an idiot.  So why do people think that someone with zero political experience would be the best person to head the most powerful country in the history of the world? I remember when Obama was running for president and Obama’s Democratic rivals, and subsequently the GOP, repeatedly said that he wouldn’t be a good president because he lacked experience.  But Obama had been in politics for years, just not always at the national level.  Trump, on the other hand, has no political experience whatsoever, but that’s apparently totally fine with millions of Americans.

Sadly, Trump’s lack of political experience is the most minor reason why he should never be elected president. Let’s move on to the fact that he is a narcissistic bully proudly spreading the “us versus them” mentality that only leads to more division in our country. And anyone who disagrees with him he refers to as a “loser” or an “idiot”.  Schoolyard insults are so totally presidential, don’t you think?

Trump has even vowed to open up libel laws when he becomes president to make it easier to sue the media when they write “purposely negative and horrible and false articles”, or in other words, he wants to sue anyone who dares to criticize him.  Well, unfortunately for Trump this violates the First Amendment of the Constitution that guarantees Freedom of the Press.  We would need another Constitutional Amendment to overturn this, and that’s something Congress does, not the President. And is this how you want our president spending his time and our tax dollars — suing people who criticize him? We would essentially be funding his personal fatwa against the media.

Just this past weekend during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Trump refused to denounce the KKK — a hate group with a horrifying history of violence and terror that spans over a century (he later blamed a “lousy earpeice” for this, even though he refused to condemn the KKK and it’s leader, David Duke, four times during the interview). Trump also retweeted a quote by Benito Mussolini — the fascist dictator of Italy during WWII. And when questioned about it Trump said that he knew the quote was by Mussolini, verifying that he’s totally cool with quoting fascist dictators who are responsible for the deaths of millions.  No biggie. Could you imagine if Obama did something like that?  The GOP would have exploded in rage and immediately called for his impeachment. But Trump does it and hardly anyone bats an eye.

This is a man who is so disliked by other nations that the UK’s Parliament literally spent hours debating whether to ban him from entering their country.  If we elect Trump as our next president then our respect around the world will fall to all-time lows.  The fact that he will be elected the Republican nominee likely has people from other nations scratching their heads in absolute disbelief. I’m right there with you, folks — as an American, I am utterly confounded and embarrassed.

Trump always acts like he’s so tough, but he refused to participate in a Fox News debate because he doesn’t like Megan Kelly, who was one of the moderators. Really? Oh wait, I forgot how scary female journalist are. What is Trump going to do if he has to go to a UN summit and there is another world leader there that he doesn’t like? Just skip it? If he can’t handle a female journalist how is he giong to handle ISIS or Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un?  Trump’s not tough — he’s all talk. He’s a bully who throws a shit fit and acts like a petulant child whenever he doesn’t get his way.

What scares me the most about Trump’s popularity is that so many of his supporters represent the absolute worst of this country.  I believe that a large reason why they love Trump is because he makes them feel like its ok to be racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic and misogynistic.  They don’t like anyone who isn’t white and Christian, and if you’re a white Christian woman then you are expected to do nothing more than pump out babies and take care of the home.  All of the social advancements that our country has made over the last several decades — advancements that have only strengthened our nation — would essentially be erased if Trump was president, which is exactly what his supporters want.

The reason I’ve highlighted all of this is because if Millennials don’t vote then we could very well end up with Trump as our next president. Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, and while it is essentially a certainty that Trump will end up the Republican nominee, the jury is still out on the Democratic side. Nationwide Bernie Sanders is doing better head-to-head against Trump than Clinton, but whoever wins for the Democrats we must ensure that they win the White House.  So vote tomorrow (preferably for Sanders) and please, please, please vote in November.

I never wanted to get to the point where I suggested people vote for a particular candidate, but I just can’t imagine Donald Trump as our president. It would be disastrous.  And I know that if our generation votes then Trump will not win.  So friends, make sure you are registered and make sure you vote.  This election really could be our coming out party where we make a huge statement to our nation and to the rest of the world about what kind of future we want to build.  But we need to vote.  We absolutely MUST vote.  Not just in 2016, but in every election — yes, even the Mid-terms.

Please take 20 minutes to watch John Oliver skewer Trump and his campaign.  It’s epic and amazing.

Why Are Millennials Feeling the Bern?

If you’ve been paying attention to the presidential primaries, you’re probably aware that Bernie Sanders, the somewhat cantankerous 74-year-old Senator from Vermont (via Brooklyn, NY), has captured the adoration of many Millennials.  In fact, he has destroyed Hillary Clinton in the youth vote in every primary or caucus thus far.  But why are so many Millennials feeling the Bern?

A recent article at Mic.com discussed the results of a poll conducted by Republican pollster Frank Luntz that examined the opinions of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 26.  It found that Millennials are very drawn to Sanders’ Democratic Socialist rhetoric.  In fact, when respondents were asked what is the most compassionate political system, Socialism got 58% of the vote. Capitalism, on the other hand, got only 33% of the vote. (Note: this question asked about political systems, not economic systems, which really doesn’t make sense because capitalism is not a political system.  But the point is the 1,000 Millennials in this poll said that they like socialism twice as much as capitalism.)

It appears that Millennials have little respect for Wall Street.  In fact 66% of those polled thought that corporate America “embodies all that is wrong about America”. And when asked which profession they respected the most, only 2% of respondents said they respected bankers. Bernie Sanders has campaigned on a platform of breaking up big banks, restoring strength and vitality to the middle class, and bridging the gap between the rich and the poor by, as he puts it, making sure the wealthy pay their fair share. The poll also found that respondents feel the number one issue facing the country is income inequality.  A full 28% of respondents said that they are “worried about the widening gap between the rich and poor. The rich aren’t paying their fair share and the poor are suffering.”  Clearly Sanders is hitting the right notes with Millennials.

Millennials feel our nation is suffering largely due to selfishness and individualism, which would explain why the top three words respondents would use to describe America’s problems are “corruption” (38%), “greed” (29%) and “inequality” (26%).  “Government” tied “inequality” at 26%, but that is likely a reflection of the fact that we feel our political leaders are incompetent and uninterested in helping most Americans.  Only 4% of those polled said that they respected political leaders, and 21% of respondents felt that government accountability is the most pressing issue facing our country, with the worry “that government is ineffective and not accountable to the people.”

None of this bodes well for the GOP, who is hoping Millennials will blame big government (their Boogie Man) for our nation’s problems. Instead, however, we are placing far more blame on big banks and the greedy, corrupt people who run them. The GOP’s message and values just don’t mesh with Millennials, which is surely why a whopping 44% of respondents aligned with the Democratic party, whereas only 15% aligned with the GOP. In addition, 31% of respondents said Bernie Sanders is the most “trusted and respected” political leader, far ahead of Barack Obama (18%) and Hillary Clinton (11%). Donald Trump got 9% of the vote.

I touched upon this in my post on the New Hampshire primary, Bernie Sanders is the kind of politician that Millennials want. He’s genuine and honest — the opposite of what we are used to with politicians. Sanders talk of building a government and an economy that supports all Americans, not just the wealthy few, is exactly what we want to hear. Millennials are well aware that right now our nation caters to the wealthy. We know that the income gap is widening, and we’re aware of how devastating that is for the future of our country.

And the crazy thing is, despite how bad things are right now Millennials are still very optimistic about the future.  While 54% of respondents in the Luntz poll said that the U.S. is currently on the wrong track, 61% felt that the nation’s best days are still ahead. Moreover, 88% of respondents were at least somewhat optimistic about their personal future, including 25% who were extremely optimistic. And 53% felt that they will be at least somewhat better off financially than their their parents.  Only 7% felt they would be worse off.

Is this just blind optimism from a young and inexperienced generation?  Maybe.  But it’s also encouraging that Millennials aren’t ready to give up on building a better future.  And that, to me, is a top reason why Millennials like Sanders.  He appeals to our optimism and collectivist mentality. We don’t want to hear about how terrible our government is. We know our government sucks right now, which is why we are enthused about a candidate who is genuinely serious about fixing the government so it is more effective.

Sanders appeals to Millennials not just because he wants universal healthcare, or free college education, or to decriminalize marijuana, or to decrease the gap between rich and poor, or to break up big banks, or to ensure equality for everyone — no matter race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.  Sanders is an optimist who believes that our nation can grow and prosper and be stronger than it ever has — if we work together.

Sanders’ Democratic Socialism isn’t scary to Millennials — it appeals to us.  We don’t want government to control everything, but we do want a government that functions and fulfills its role of protecting and serving the American people.  If you want to call that socialism, that’s fine by us. As stated above, Millennials have higher regard for socialism than we do capitalism. And can you blame us?  Our entire lives we’ve only seen the rich get richer and poor get poorer.

Government is but a necessary evil.  When I hear presidential candidates talking about how much they hate government and how awful it is, I’m baffled that they think I would vote for them. If I was hiring a nanny to watch my kids, I would never hire someone who told me that she hates kids.  The president is the top dog in government, so why would I vote for someone who says they hate the very thing they will oversee?

Millennials understand that government exists for a reason, and we want strong, conscientious political leaders in office who will ensure our government runs efficiently and effectively. For some odd reason we just don’t feel that people who gloat about hating government fit the bill.

And look, I know that some people feel that Millennials don’t understand the economics of the situation — that Sanders’ plans would bankrupt our country. First of all, that is wholeheartedly not true.  In fact, 170 top economists have backed Sanders’ economic plans.  But our nation is headed for bankruptcy right now anyways.  We need substantial change not just to our fiscal policies but to many of our programs in order to get our nation back on solid and sustainable economic footing.  And unfortunately for the GOP, we don’t believe that cutting taxes for wealthy people and relying on “trickle-down” economics is going to work.  It never has and it never will.

If Millennials were deciding this race, Bernie Sanders would already be declared our next president.  I just hope that Millennials finally realize that we could decide this election if we just showed up and voted in huge numbers.  We are the largest generation in history and we currently make up about 30% of the electorate, which I believe is the largest percentage of any age group.  If we vote, our candidate will win.

 

Welcome!

Welcome to The Millennial Legacy! The Millennial Generation (1982-2004) is coming of age during a time of severe crisis. From extreme economic uncertainty, to societal upheaval, to perpetual international chaos, today's world is full of immense challenges. But whenever there are challenges, there are also opportunities. And that is what the Millennial Generation has at its disposal...an incredible opportunity to change the country and the world in a very positive and lasting way. How this young generation responds to the myriad of issues it faces will largely shape the legacy they leave to posterity. This website is dedicated to making Millennials aware of their generation's destiny to move the world toward more peace, tolerance and sustainability.

I'm honored that you have taken the time to visit my little website, and I hope that matter what your age or what generation you belong to, you are inspired to do your part to make our world a better place. If you want to contribute a blog post, or if you just want to write me an email, I can be reached at yingling.lauren@gmail.com.

Gratitude and peace,

Lauren