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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/20/19

How to Survive the Journey Ahead: A Graduation Message for a Terrifying Age

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matter who you are, no matter how strong you are, sooner or later, you'll face circumstances beyond your control." Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones

Those coming of age today will face some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by young people.

In addition to being overtaxed and underemployed, they will also be forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands they be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences.

Unfortunately, we who should have known better failed to guard against such a future.

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Worse, we neglected to maintain our freedoms or provide our young people with the tools necessary to survive, let alone succeed, in the impersonal jungle that is modern America.

Based on the current political climate, things could very well get much worse before they ever take a turn for the better. Here are a few pieces of advice that will hopefully help those coming of age today survive the perils of the journey that awaits:

Be an individual. As John F. Kennedy warned, conformity is "the jailer of freedom, and the enemy of growth." Worry less about fitting in with the rest of the world and march to the beat of your conscience.

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Learn your rights. We're losing our freedoms for one simple reason: most of us don't know anything about our freedoms. So grab a copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, study them, and stand up for your rights before it's too late.

Speak truth to power. Don't be naive about those in positions of authority. People in power, more often than not, abuse that power. To maintain our freedoms, this will mean challenging government officials whenever they exceed the bounds of their office.

Resist all things that numb you. Resist all things that numb you, put you to sleep or help you "cope" with so-called reality. As George Orwell warned, "Until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they rebelled, they cannot become conscious." It is these conscious individuals who change the world for the better.

Don't let technology turn you into zombies. Techno-gadgets are merely distractions from what's really going on in America and around the world. If you're going to make a difference in the world, you're going to have to pull the earbuds out, turn off the cell phones and spend much less time viewing screens.

Help others. None of us can exist very long without help from others. If we're going to see any positive change for freedom, then we must help one another. That will mean gaining the courage to stand up for the oppressed.

Give voice to moral outrage. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." There is no shortage of issues on which to take a stand. Choose one and start making your voice heard.

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Cultivate spirituality, reject materialism and put people first. We must change our values to reflect something more meaningful than technology, materialism and politics. Standing at the pulpit of the Riverside Church in New York City in April 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. urged his listeners:

[W]e as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motive and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

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John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and (more...)
 

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