A Personal Letter

Under educated, underemployed white males seem to be what is widely considered the problem with the country. This is a fact that fascinates me. It fascinates me because it is these individuals who say higher education is full of “snow-flakes” and that these weak kids need “safe zones.” Why? What do these people have against education? I believe that I have come to an answer. It sounds right, and so I will put it out to my peers to be reviewed and challenged. My belief is this. Uneducated men can’t handle being told they are wrong. They can’t handle their beliefs being challenged, that someone out there might be smarter, or have a better concept of something than themselves. So college is attacked as a place for liberal snowflakes, it is useless and ruining the country.

What a novel idea that deserves an in-depth analysis. I have a comparison I can make, between my own grandfather and my younger sisters boyfriend. They are both gun enthusiasts. I say enthusiast, but in reality, “The Boy” as is customary to call any boyfriend in my family, is an enthusiast. My grandfather is a fanatic. The Boy collects guns. He has over a hundred I am told. The thing is, once my sister became pregnant, he took all of his guns to his grandfathers house. The reason he did this was because he did not own a safe where his grandfather does. He didn’t want his guns unsecured in a home with an infant. Before this he kept them unloaded and disassembled. With the gun in one place and the ammo in another. This is responsible gun ownership.

The Boy does not talk of his guns unless asked or it comes up as a topic in conversation. My grandfather on the other hand will preach about guns and the government and evil liberals every chance he gets. He is the picture perfect poster child of undereducated, underemployed white male. When we see my grandfather, he starts a fight with my mother. Why he does this I don’t know. He could be lonely, my mom is an easy target.

Mostly because she just doesn’t know how to shut up and she has a really hard time being wrong. So he picks a fight with her. Politics, religion, current events, nothing is off limits. He sits next to the food and coughs on it so it’s a scramble to grab the food before he gets there. He tells us that we can’t bring home a man who has a different skin color. He tells me that I can’t travel to anywhere that is too different, or could be dangerous, as if I or my sisters will allow our lives to revolve around him and what makes him happy.

Jumping to another train of thought here, I used to work in fast food. We called the place McDicks, instead of its name. One night a man came through the drive through and asked me why my hair is short. As if the opinion of a pot-bellied, black toothed old man on how I kept my hair mattered to me. He then went on to compliment my finger nails. Yes, my finger nails. They were not painted. As if having good grooming habits is directly correlated to my worth as a woman and a person. Which isn’t to say it’s not, we all avoid that one person who simply refuses to wear deodorant, or the person who has bad breath. But what do my fingernails or the length of my hair contribute to my worth?

There was one middle aged man, he was dressed in a suit. I remember what he looks like because he was screaming at the small high-school girl behind the counter because he had to wait five minutes for a new pot of coffee. He stormed out screaming that he will never come back as if the lack of one ill-tempered man’s patronage is a huge loss to us.

These three paragraphs show a remarkable image. Not just the sexism, but the entitlement of the older generation, that their opinion and preference is the “to be all-end all” of the world. This is not to say that all of the older generation is like that, no, not all men are like that at all. I have run into many kindly men, those that wait patiently in line and joke with the cashiers, those that always smile and laugh and say thank you and please.

But there is enough. There is enough men that comedians are talking about it. Nothing is off limits to a comedian and so they talk about everything with frank honesty. It is a meme on the internet, when men have crazy girlfriends they talk about them, “My last girl was so crazy and emotional, I’m glad I walked away from that.” “My last girl was too clingy, she went through my phone. I’m so glad I got away.” but women don’t talk about crazy boyfriends, because when a woman has a crazy boyfriend she dies. There is enough that I hate going to work, to classes, knowing the probability of running into one of them and leaving with that gum-on-the-bottom-of-your-shoe feeling. The feeling of irritation that there is something there, but you don’t want to touch it with your bare hands out of fear of being tainted by the dirt.

This gap between the generation is leading to a war on youth. The entitlement of men and women has created a problem, no, a phenomenon of death. I fear it will continue until either all of the youth are silenced, or there is real change in the world.

And so a letter I write

People try to find what appears to be the  simple and smart solution to a problem. For the Baby Boomers, telling them pens don’t work in space may result in ‘so use a pencil’ followed by laughter about snowflakes and liberals making a problem where there is none and maybe something about a right to bear pens.

Well Russia experimented with using pencils, and guess what happened? The graphite from the pencils flaked off creating fine dust that got into the air vents and clogged them taking oxygen away from the astronauts and invading delicate equipment.  It was education and experimentation that gave us this important conclusion and kept astronauts alive.

Easy solutions are not always the best solutions and education is not expendable and not all Generation Z. college bound children are snowflakes.

Children are dying in schools for many reasons however, they easiest thing to fix right now is to not allow teenagers to own weapons that can kill large amounts of people in a short amount of time. Then we can work on the bigger issues like violence in media, the electronic world where children get more information than they are ready to handle and parents who are not parenting.

I read an article about the speech Emma Gonzalez gave at the March for Our Lives rally. She was silent for six minutes and twenty seconds, the time it took to kill seventeen of her classmates and teachers. I made cinnamon rolls today. They were in the oven for half an hour. I was startled when the timer went off because it seems like no time had passed at all. When I was in basic training, we had four minutes from the time Revile sounded to be downstairs ready for PT. Four minutes seemed like forever, I was often surprised at what I could get done in that time. Half hour seemed like no time at all to wait for food. How long does six minutes feel when fearing for you life and the lives of your contemporaries?

Teachers are holding active shooter drills. They are teaching kids in kindergarten how to react to an active shooter. Schools train teachers to shut and lock their doors and let no one in – even if its a child from their own room who stepped out to use the bathroom. Once the door is locked, it is locked. It makes me angry Then I read the comments on that article. I was sickened again by the 2nd amendment screamers who think their AR15 is an extension of their flaccid, white penis.  How they use the fear of the children to make themselves look patriotic and ‘American’. How in their ignorance they scream ‘MORE GUNS’ or is it, ‘use a pencil’ because they haven’t really looked at the problem and don’t want to be a part of the solution. They want the easy, uneducated way out. This time instead of computer generated astronauts it’s flesh and blood children.

The last big fight for rights was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King spoke at the March For Our Lives rally. She gave a speech to end gun violence. How little time has passed since a generation fought segregation and racism. They were also criticized and were the brunt of violence due to their stance, by the same white male patriarchy that is attempting to silence protesters today.

Ruby Bridges is 63 years old right now. If you don’t know who that is, she is the first black person to attend an all-white elementary school. This means that less than 60 years ago there was still segregation. My grandparents remember it, my grandfather would have participated to be honest, my mother heard the ‘N’ word regularly as a child. The people who yelled at Ruby, who harassed her, who threatened her, they are still alive and they are the problem.

The Civil Rights Movement was far-reaching and absolute. It caused change from the status quo. Now a new generation of children are standing for what they believe. Children are rejecting their grandparents ideology and saying ‘no more’. There is resistance from the older generations. The still want to try a pencil and still need their weapons.

Throughout history it has been oppressed people standing for what they believed that has prompted change. Young people joined by their parents to create change in a broken society. To stop the slaughter of innocent (Native Americans, African Americans, Children).

The older generations desperately want to blame the victims (use a pencil). They don’t want to see where the problem lies (flying graphite). They want it to go away and have someone else fix it (The Russians).

The second Amendment writers had no idea the power of today’s weapons and the extent of societal apathy. Current laws do not reflect the current political and social climate that is found today. In his first year in office, President Trump pulled back an Obama era law that stopped people who have severe diagnosed mental illness from purchasing weapons. This issue is a political platform for many politicians and has risen to the forefront given the elections being held in November. Millenials will make up 25% of the voting population for that election. That is enough to change the focus of the people in the White House and in legislature. Rallying, marching, voting, these are the ways to change the vote, to be seen and forced to be heard. The game is rigged, now it is time to learn how to play.

A letter I will never write

I am angry. I am angry and sorry. I have failed. We have all failed and we are blaming our failure on the next generation, generation z. We call them angry, immature, ignorant, lazy, selfish, thugs, sluts and more. We say that when we were kids if we acted like that our parents would have beaten us. We are shocked that these kids we raised are speaking when we would have never dreamed to speak. We raised them to be like this.

The generation before us failed. They beat us and said we were ignorant, too ignorant to speak about anything. Now we tell our kids the same thing but they don’t listen to us anymore. We wonder why these kids are so angry and so rebellious. We say we have failed but we need these kids. We need these kids because we did not speak. We were ignorant but these kids are not. They see and they are angry and they have nothing left to lose because the previous generations have taken it all. While us as millennials are silent still.

We failed because now gen z is fighting what we should have fought and they are failing because we are not ready to fight. The baby boomers, gen x, they are not ready to listen to children or they will not, the results are the same. Millennials are not ready to speak. We are still playing by the rules gen x set for us. These rules make it impossible to win the game but yet we are not ready to rage quit. Gen z has reached this point. They are fighting for their lives, in schools, at home, on the streets. They are fighting to stay in a country that does not want them but it’s the only home they know. They are fighting to change laws that are outdated and they are taking on corrupt giants to do so.

They cannot win. They cannot win because the game is rigged, because gen x and baby boomers were raised in a time where to admit they are wrong is to be less of a person. Where is your pride? Gen z has none. They can’t afford to have pride. They want clean water and clean air and unpolluted land and by god they want to be safe in their own schools. We took all of that from them.

I blame myself just as much as gen x and the baby boomers. We were silent. We were scared. We are scared and sad and angry. This is no longer our war because we never fought. We never fought. I learned something recently and I have thought about it a lot. The word But negates anything that comes before it. I want to go to class, but I’m tired. I want to fight, but I have to work. I want to support these people, but I’m afraid of retaliation. But means that I stay in bed go to work in a job that will never support me so I get a second and just try to survive, but means that I am silent. And is a much more interesting word, I am tired and I can still go to class tired. I am scared and I am going to fight. I have to work and I will be an activist so that one day these kids will be able to support themselves on one salary and not have to kill themselves just to pay the bills.

So I am angry. It is midnight and I am so angry that I am blurting words on a page that quite possibly outside this class nobody will read. I was supposed to be writing about the misogyny that millennials experience from the older generations but I can’t right now. This is more important. This is what I need to say. I am sorry. I failed. We all did. So now we need to help these kids fight a war against their parents, their grand-parents and we need to fight hard. These kids started this because we as millennials couldn’t or wouldn’t. We can help them finish it. This game is rigged and it’s time to rage quit.