Tag: recent

(A) Millennial Political Philosophy: Part One – Values

It would be a fool’s errand to attempt to define one “Millennial mindset,” because Millennials are the most diverse generation in America. But that question – what do Millennials believe? – is important, and an answer might be approached by Millennials bringing forward our political beliefs to begin the dialogue on defining this newly-politicized generation.

Here, I’ll share my (budding) political philosophy. How’s that for an anti-click-bait opener?

Before you call me just another entitled, presumptuous, holier-than-thou Millennial, let me say this: Obama made me do it. From his farewell address:

This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic – I’ve seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America’s hallmark, something not to fear but to embrace, and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.

In 2014, only 17% of Millennials voted in the midterm elections. In 2016, only 30% of Millennials were contacted by a presidential campaign. And by 2020, Millennials will be the biggest voting bloc in America. That is an amazing power, and perhaps by defining what we value, we can wield it with the amazing responsibility that it deserves (Uncle Ben, ‘02).

The Cuba Files: Fact, Fiction, and Politics

December 27th, Baggage Claim of the Havana Airport, Cuba:

Ric and I wait for my bag at an unlabeled carousel. It’s been at least thirty minutes since the plane landed, and announcements over the tinny speakers have been unhelpful at best. It’s not until I notice the Spirit-yellow “transfer” slip sandwiched between a bag and the carousel’s metal slat that we know we’re waiting in the right place. About ten minutes later, after the baggage handlers have presumably had 1-2 smoke breaks while completing the ~100 yard transfer from plane to baggage claim, my backpack finally arrives. Between the standard Spirit Airlines delay of 20m and this wait, it’s now over an hour after we are scheduled to land in Havana.

And yet, as soon as we walk out of the baggage claim area and into the swarm of friends and family, he is still waiting: José Ramón, the host of our AirBnb, he with whom I spoke relatively broken Spanish over the reservation’s built-in chat window, standing alongside his wife and with a sign reading “CHRISTIAN KEIL.” I’m very surprised that he showed up at all. We never confirmed that he would be there, nor a price for a trip; in the moment, we considered it a grand gesture of Cuban culture and hospitality that the host of our $37/night AirBnb would include transportation (and waiting for an hour to pick up us) gratis. Our host drove us in his late-50s Ford to the property in Havana’s northwest “Vedado” region, and our trip was off to an incredibly smooth start.

Two days later, we came back from a day of exploring Havana to a note from José Ramón: we should call him to confirm our check-out procedures, oh, and if we could leave the $25 for the cab ride from the airport, that would be perfect. That is Cuba, as I saw it. José Ramón was, overall, an incredibly gracious host. And the country was, overall, relatively tourist-friendly. But the whole country is just so wildly impoverished that there really isn’t another story to tell.

This is My America

After tonight, everything is different.

It’s 11:48 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016. All signs point to an inevitable, if unbelievable, conclusion: Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. Let me say that slightly differently. The former host of the Apprentice, a man who has publicly stated that has he sexually assaulted women, that Muslims should be banned from entering the country, that he will prosecute his political opponent, that Mexicans are rapists, that women should be distrusted when they are on their periods; a candidate who hasn’t released his tax returns, who praises Vladimir Putin, who disagrees with his Vice President, who called his opponent a “nasty woman” and claimed that there are some “bad hombres” in this country, who criticizes the freedom of the press, who has bankrupted several companies despite not paying contracted workers and threatening to sue them if they protest, who has divorced his first two wives before landing on a supermodel immigrant – despite his notable and avowed hatred for all those who are not American – and who now inevitably accepts and will praise the electoral system that he previously considered “rigged”: this narcissist is about to become the leader of the free world, and one third of the most powerful government on the face of the Earth.

(The previous paragraph is only moderately catastrophizing. You’ll notice that I didn’t mention the fact that this man – who is provoked to vehemence at all hours of the night by tweets from Rosie O’Donnell – will now have control over the United States’ nuclear arsenal. I refuse to believe that someone could start a nuclear war. But, also, I now know that what I believe or refuse to believe has absolutely no hold over reality.)

It’s now 12:03 AM, November 9th. It’s my mother’s birthday. Yesterday, she posted a picture of herself in a navy pantsuit on Facebook – a celebratory gesture, paying homage to the preferred garb of our then presumptive future Madam President. But today, we know the truth: that America is not what we thought it was, and that hate has trumped love.

Evil has conquered good. Division has conquered unity. And in a very real way, straight, Christian, white, and male has trumped gay, Muslim, black, and female. It feels like that’s the case, doesn’t it? And on some level, it is – no matter how hard we try to erase this night from the history of our great nation. But no matter what the truth is tonight, the beauty of America is that we can change tomorrow.