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A letter to millennials: When it comes to honesty and action, we have work to do

Let's spend less time filtering photos for Instagram, more time fostering creative dialogue

· Nov 21, 2016 Tweet

Riley Steinbrenner/The Badger Herald

In the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s election, millennials have lashed out by making their voice heard. There have been protests, rallies, gatherings, demonstrations — and all rightfully so. We need to have our voice heard, and this is an excellent first step in doing so.

In a previous article, I mentioned there was a revolution brewing among those outraged and upset by our country’s decision to take a moral, ethical and intellectual step backwards. I still do believe this, but I just wanted to say a few very brief words about how that will proceed most efficiently.

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It should be noted that it is, in large part, millennials leading this revolution, and certainly the majority of people reading this are millennials. So it is millennials I would like to address.

Also, I should say everything I say here is in no way indicative of the entire group, and when I make these criticisms, I am not trying to say that we are going in the wrong direction, but that there is a better and more efficient way to continue in the direction we are going.

So, first off, I think that we need to improve our general approach to taking action.

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I recently read an essay by George Orwell titled “Why I Write.” I think one particular quote from that essay is pertinent to this idea:

“What I have most wanted to do is to make political writing into an art,” Orwell wrote. “My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice.”

I think we all are feeling some partisanship, and certainly are sensing some volatile injustice. What I want to see is millennials applying their true creative talent to this issue — everyone has something they can apply.

I want to see us try to create something that is fusing creativity or art with our intense political and moral beliefs. Instead of bragging to everyone about how you did not even hesitate to unfriend your uncle on Facebook when he shared a pro-Trump article, or typing up a passionate status along the lines of, “If you supported Donald Trump, then just don’t even bother talking to me,” get out and use your talents to make something truly influential and worthwhile.

Secondly, I think we need to do a better job being honest and genuine.

We criticize Trump for being dishonest, a liar or a con man. These are all true, don’t get me wrong, but when we make these criticisms, we need to be checking ourselves. I see our generation criticize dishonesty, but I see the very same generation — one which suffers tremendously from insecurity due to excessive social media use and connectivity — turn around and make posts on social media that are in no way reflective of how their lives really are.

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We ourselves only put out the highlight reel, because it’s tough to live in a world where you endure struggles like a normal human, but then see evidence on social media sites to suggest it is not, in fact, normal.

Our obsession with social media has put up walls between us. We need to foster organic communication and real, creative talent if we’re serious about fighting against the direction in which older generations are trying to take this country.

Kort Driessen ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in neurobiology.