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Hey, You Guys

April 10, 2024

Hey you guys, I live in a perfect world. How about you?

A world with no deprivation or starvation. A world blanketed in peace and not engulfed in flames. One where differing opinions and convictions consistently convene in a mutual and impartial agreement for the betterment of society.

I live in a world where human rights are unshackled, and religious beliefs are freely expressed without persecution. I live in a world of unity and privilege. The world I am in allows the winds of grandiose to fill my sail of sadness down the raging river of desperation for relevancy. That being so, in my world, I seek out those culpable of the trivial and allow my inner weakness to overcome me at the mere idea of imperfect etiquette.
Where do I reside you might ask?

In an illusion of course. A fairy tale. A fictitious land made of magical dust upon which my dominion of excellence awaits me daily to cast judgment on those who are lucky enough to serve under me.
Okay, perhaps that was a bit much to begin with. Give me a moment to place my cap on my head as I enjoy some piping hot chicken wings and dumb things down a touch.

Just under five percent of the world’s population lives within the United States. Of those people, there are roughly 350 languages spoken, making the land of the free and home of the brave one of the most linguistically diverse in the world. Over 78 percent of U.S. homes claim English as the dominant language they speak. Of that 78 percent, there are dozens of dialects from Cajun to New Yorker to Southwestern, but one thing remains common among all of them: They are still English.

This country is many things, but being one-dimensional has never been one of them. From its inception, the U.S. has defied and rebelled against those who have tried to dictate their way of life. Despite this, there will always be a pretentious portion of the populous who still want to assume authority over some for no reason other than their own discomfort in how those individuals live their lives. The wide array of vernaculars displayed throughout various regions and the evolution of such dialects has always been one of the distinctive identifiers of being American. Let’s face it, this nation was founded upon freedom of speech. Consequently, any formal or informal attempts to restrict, regulate, or ridicule such a thing, are probably going to be greeted with dissension at best.

With all that being said, sometimes things are best left, unsaid.

Now that the climb has peaked, stiffen up your spine and prepare for the descent.

There is no problem with how you speak. There is no problem with how you dress. There is no problem with your piercings, your tattoos, or your hair color. Ultimately there is no problem worth complaining about when enjoying the luxuries of “first world” living.

I admit, I’m guilty of “first-world” thinking at times. Let’s be honest, it is a very easy trap to fall into. But we must have a line, and if that line is not drawn at the youth of America, then there is no line worth drawing.
Mine and generations before me are responsible for some of the greatest advancements known to mankind while simultaneously developing the means to completely destroy all life on Earth in all sorts of morbidly creative ways. I wouldn’t say we’re exactly batting a thousand on the making America better field.

But it is on the field, the court, and the stage that I observed the best of our youth and the worst of the rest. I have had the privilege of covering the youth of our community in sports and events for the better part of two decades for various media outlets. I could count on one hand the number of times they disappointed me as a reporter and member of the community with their behavior or decorum. In contrast, I have lost count when it comes to their parents and grandparents. I have always been a believer that before we publicly chastise one individual, we should ensure we are indeed flawless ourselves.

What we fail to acknowledge is that the daily expectations and pressures that are shouldered by young individuals in America today far exceed those of recent generations. Their lives are under scrutiny which we only see in dystopian fiction. Every word they say, every move they make, every error or wrong turn is likely documented, even if they aren’t aware of it. The levels of anxiety that an adolescent tolerates have always been high, but now, in 2024 there truly is no escape from the watchful eye of society. Still, not only are most hanging onto their sanity, but many are rising above just enough to attend school, participate in extracurriculars, and hold down a part-time job. That is, of course, until the glooming shadow of throwback perfection hovers overhead to rain down on their perseverance and cast darkness over the thinnest sliver of optimism.

Just when they believe they’re getting ahead we apply our own rules or move the goalposts a little further out of reach. Are we trying to create a vibrant and enthusiastic future populous to lead humanity or are we molding mindless drones that fall in line and follow orders? History would tell us the latter never pan out too well, while the former is the literal reason we have freedom of speech today.
On July 4, 1776, four of the Founding Fathers were 25 years old or younger, but I can’t go into that now.

You’re welcome.

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