With graduation around the corner, many of us are staring at the future head on. For this farewell column I am expected to give some kind of “congratulations, the world is yours” pep talk. I am not supposed to tell you that the world is in fact not yours for the taking, despite the fact we so clearly feel entitled to it.
I am not supposed to remind you that we are the most educated generation with the least employed amount of people and the largest amount of student loan debt. I am not supposed to tell you about how inflation impacts minimum wage positions and how $7.25 40 years ago is only worth about two dollars now, yet the cost to buy or even rent a home is the nearly the highest it’s ever been because of a housing market the generation before you completely destroyed.
But it is not their fault either, they were just trying to catch a few crumbs of leftovers from the top 1 percent. That 1 percent owns more than the bottom 99 percent combined, but we don’t see that because when 99 people are hungry and fighting for the very last bite who cares who ate the rest.
I am supposed to tell you the world is ours, the same world we founded on the genocide of millions of people and then built by the labor of another million. That we have yet to acknowledge out loud or rectify, because we don't properly apologize for these past wrongs. We just rewrite the history books to make us the heroes or to hide the truth. That we live in a world where, 58 years ago, four black men sat at a Greensboro, North Carolina, counter for whites only and still today black men are being arrested for sitting in a Starbucks.
No, I am supposed to tell you the world is yours, but I am not supposed to tell you that the planet is dying and it's our fault. I am not supposed to remind you there is no "planet B" and that your grandchildren will more than likely never see a polar bear.
I am not supposed to say that we have a reality TV star as our president who has made us the laughingstock of the world. I am not supposed to say its our fault, that it was one side’s hate and the apathy of the other, but both of our prides. I am not supposed to say the government is in the NRA's pocket, the pockets that helped put Trump in that office, and that those pockets are heavier than the caskets of children.
I am supposed to tell you the world is yours. But I am not supposed to tell you that I am so very sorry for how you are received. I am sorry for the ones who have yet to learn any of this and the ones who think they know all there is to learn. No refunds or exchanges.
No, I am supposed to tell you the world is yours. And even though it is not, and even though you did very little to contribute to these things, I am not supposed to tell you it is now your responsibility. So, try your best to make it a better place than the people who came before us. In the words of RuPaul, “Good luck. And don’t f--- it up”.