To everyone who is going to get hysterical about this new poll that claims 40% of millennials support government abridging offensive speech to minorities, I share in your outrage. If this poll is remotely accurate, I’m ashamed that so many from my generation can consciously want to curtail any form of speech, when those same freedoms were so instrumental to progress in the Civil Rights struggle, women’s suffrage, LGBT rights and every other battle we’ve had to wage and continue to wage towards creating an equal and fair society. Recent social victories are pushing the pendulum in the right direction, but I sincerely hope we don’t give in to the temptation of punishing the other side by becoming the very monster we just destroyed. Our ideals, egalitarianism and social justice, are morally good. Let them stand to all scrutiny, no matter how ugly.

But why aren’t Baby Boomers held accountable for all the ACTUAL harm they’ve done? We’ll hear a lot about “thought policing,” from the right, who wants to marginalize millennials as we gravitate more towards progressive politics. Where is the same moral outrage for practiced policing policies, conceived and implemented by Boomers, which created a devastating, racist drug war that incarcerated millions and severely crippled black progress.

Where is the moral outrage about gun violence when it affects anything but white, suburban communities? We’ve fostered a culture of mistrust between races and ethnicities where, for some reason, white people can’t empathize with blacks who are needlessly murdered by overzealous, poorly trained cops. The Boomers, who witnessed firsthand the importance of questioning oppressive authority throughout the 60s and 70s, were somehow perfectly willing to roll over and cede power for tenuous security. All because they were easily duped into believing boogeymen want to kill them and take their stuff.

Where is the moral outrage about the changing climate, which we’ve continued to allow to deteriorate long after we wised to our own role. Sold away by the Boomers and Generation X-cess, so they could prolong their own petty luxuries a little longer. Millennials will be the ones who contend with the inevitable negative consequences (including food and water shortages that will disproportionately affect minorities and poor) long after the last Boomer is gone.

Where is the moral outrage about Boomers leveraging Millennials future, with cuts to education, healthcare and benefits spending in order to save the super wealthy more money. Money they don’t need that they don’t invest, so they can continue to not create jobs with fair wages. Without quality, free education through the collegiate level, minorities and the poor will not be able to compete with more privileged. Without universal healthcare, the financial hole grows deeper for those on the cusp. Without liveable wages for full time employees, people are forced to take second jobs that further degrade the stability that might allow the cycle of institutional subjugation to end.

The current social state of college campuses is harsh and reactionary and misguided. Campuses need be totally free and open centers for debate. There are no “safe spaces” in the real world, and millennials needs to grow up (quickly) and cut their shit. But make no mistake, this strife was perpetuated by spineless Baby Boomers, the “Me Generation,” who embraced a culture that benefitted themselves slightly without regard for the massive ripple effect on the poor and disenfranchised. You can’t start a fire on a wooden floor to keep warm, then get angry when the whole house burns down.

Don’t allow these fading old people to call our generation a mess without saying something about it. They’re the past, we’re the future and we need to be better than they were. We don’t have a choice, they made sure of that.


Two significant events in the last couple of days have revived discussion about the Confederate Flag. On Wednesday, a racially motivated gunman opened fire inside a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The shooter was pictured in a photo with a car that featured images of the flag on its plates. As the American and South Carolina flags flew at half mast after the tragedy, the Confederate Flag continued to fly high atop the state’s capitol. The Supreme Court also ruled that Texas can refuse to allow images of the flag on specialty license plates on Thursday.

As a born and raised New Yorker who attended school in New England, I’m a Yankee through and through. It sickens me when I have to listen to some folksy-sounding politician decry “East Coast, Ivy League types” like that’s some sort of insult. Even though I identify as liberal on only a handful of issues, I find that I have more in common with my fellow Northeasterners across the political spectrum than with like minded Southerners. What boils my blood the most is depictions of the Confederate flag.

The GOP likes to champion themselves as the true Americans. They’re the party of strong defense, patriotism, religion and Capitalism. The Democrats, by contrast, are the weak, nanny state party who wants your kids to be gay, atheist communists intent on destroying the foundation of our democracy. Why, then are these “true Americans” always the ones I see celebrating the Confederate flag like its some proud symbol of Southern heritage?

The Confederate flag is a symbol of two things: Rebellion and Slavery. It’s value as a historical object is one of acknowledgment in a textbook. And it certainly doesn’t hold value as a beacon of states’ rights. Because when a government entity’s entire existence is predicated on the systemic denial of rights to an entire racial or ethnic group, then that entity is a disgrace. Is displaying the Confederate flag as shameful as displaying a Swastika? No. But it’s a lot closer than flying “Don’t Tread on Me” on your porch. This isn’t some retired flag updated to fit the current U.S. state model. These are the colors of rebels. The flag used to secede from our country.

This, of course, should not suggest that I’m in favor of banning people from showing it anytime they want. The first amendment guarantees individuals have a right to display the flag in any way they see fit and that’s a great thing. But when you choose to fly that flag, you choose to draw attention to yourself, positively or negatively. Every instance of the flag makes my stomach turn. When I see a fellow New Yorker with a Confederate flag bumper sticker jumping off the back of his truck, I judge. I judge hard. You’re denying your proud Northern heritage in favor of a slaveholding legacy.

Governments are not, however, in the business of making the same statements. We have one national flag, the stars and stripes, fifty state flags, and flags of any other territories and commonwealths. None of these include the Confederacy. The United States isn’t going to fly the British flag above the Capitol. Puerto Rico isn’t flying the Spanish flag. Louisiana isn’t flying the French flag. The North won, the union was preserved, and the Confederate flag belongs in the metaphorical toilet of national history.

If South Carolina continues to fly the Confederate flag above its capitol, then it continues to implicitly support its own racist history. I’m proud of one history, that of the United States. We didn’t allow these states to go their separate ways at the expense of millions of disenfranchised African American slaves. Our predecessors fought and died to bring every territory back into the fold and abolish the abhorrent practice completely.

I hope all people can appreciate Dixie hypocrisy and continue the fight against hanging on to the dark periods of our past. When I think of patriotism, it usually involves an interest in preserving the union and making it stronger, not running away when you don’t get your way.