Standing at Attention, Paying Respect

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Image Taken from Creative Commons

We are likely to begin to feel entitled over time. It’s easy to feel like we have earned something, or done something in life, that puts our singular existence above other people’s lives, above something larger. And too often we forget all that went into that which has become so commonplace in America, our freedom.

Our generation, the millennials, are among the most self-centered, narcissistic people in the country. Yes, my friends, we, a generation of incredible opportunity, privilege and potential, take for granted the gifts we have been given all too often, and we are under the illusion that we had something to do with the success of this country, this world, thus far.

Let me be clear, this post isn’t pro war.  With these words, I am not stating that we should blindly accept the views thrust upon us from childhood. Racism exists, in this country and across the globe. Deceit, discrimination, and prejudice  can be seen in many areas of life. And if you feel that you need to speak up about an issue, please do. If you feel that you need to take action to prevent injustice, then, again, please do. We need astute people with reasonable voices to lead this country. Democracy, and the freedom to have open discussions about truth and the best course of action, make this country powerful. But, without respect for those who have come before us, all of our individual views are likely to become trifling and inconsequential. Or, worse yet, as we become more self-absorbed, our emotions get the better of us and we turn on each other, our honest views becoming warped and swept away in hysteria, like what happened at Berkeley in February of 2017. In these cases, our passions for making the world a better place become the opposite, destructive forces harming the very people we wish to help (Click to view New York Times article of extreme left protesters accusing a young Muslim man of looking like a Nazi).

As I said, we have opportunity, privilege, potential, and those same characteristics of our generation can lead both our country and the global community to a kind of success that previous generations can’t imagine. But we will squander the gifts we have been given if we do not respect those who have come before us, those who have paved the way and provided that foundation of opportunity and potential. Without gratitude, the degree to which we are self-absorbed, self-centered and narcissistic, will only engender us to a country of isolated individuals instead of a unified team leading the human race to its next zenith.

We have a special quality, a special perspective and technological tool belt that, if used wisely, could pioneer an immensely prosperous existence for all sentient beings. And we also have the capacity to develop the qualities of gratitude, respect and appreciation. It is time we bow to the people of the past and concentrate our thoughts and actions on the future. This is how we should live in the present: standing at attention, paying respect.

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