As the big headlines of this year's news cycle continue to roll in, it can be hard to view the future of our nation with any sort of optimism—even less so if you’re a conservative living on college campus.
While humans were once able to happily coexist under basic understandings of truth, morality, integrity, virtue, and character, now the only point of cultural unity is a shared vitriol towards all five. Democrats hate Republicans; Black Lives Matter hates Blue Lives Matter; Donald Trump supporters hate third party/write-in voters, and so on and so forth. The ideas previous generations have once understood as true have become utterly indefensible in the eyes of America’s youth, leaving those few principled millennial stragglers to mourn at their wake.
Faced with the reality of a tense and divided society, many of us millennials willfully resolve to remove ourselves from the world; we fill our waking hours with things like parties, drugs, sex, and whatever other distraction is most convenient. We spend more hours engaging in clickbait and Instagram filters than we do engaging in face-to-face conversation. We measure our success not in terms of what we do for others, but of the quality of our “roasts” and “hashtags.” Over time, this lifestyle becomes so engrained in our existence that we no longer remember the person we were meant to be.
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)
Alternatively, many of us choose to instead declare our own inferiority and patiently wait for some great savior to pop up and lead the masses. While it may be comforting to view ourselves as somehow inherently lesser than those great leaders that came before us, this scapegoat is just as self-destructive as the former option. In our refusal to admit that the average man is capable of greatness, we have unknowingly put a barrier between greatness and man. Consequently, we have effectively enslaved ourselves and abandoned the once cherished notion that all men are created equal.
We cannot continue down these paths.
Relying on these scapegoats is often our way of keeping the plank in our eye, so to speak. We fear its removal because we are afraid to come face to face with the terrible truth: that it is up to us to fix the problems we now face.
As many futurists have already explained, it is our generation that stands between the country’s prosperity and its demise. Likewise, it is our choice to decide whether we will continue this never-ending stream of anger and hatred or if we will instead become the forces that promote positive change in the world.
And if we decide the latter, what do we have to do?
For starters, we ought to start defending the truth as it deserves to be defended. It is not enough to simply have an opinion; we must develop a thirst to understand truth on every level and be prepared to defend it in every way possible. Consequently, we must be willing to challenge the very foundations of our core beliefs. And most importantly, we must never forget that it is not enough to be holders of information; we must be the teachers of it as well.
Second, we must be a person worth listening to. Notably, that means we must be someone who stands for something rather than just against the opposing side. If we continue to talk at and against others instead of with others, then we will only serve to further divide our nation into factions.
More so, we must hold true to our principles and integrity, even when it is not politically convenient to do so; if we sacrifice those beliefs, we lose our only true leg to stand on.
Third, we must clearly and shamelessly love everyone with all our hearts. This includes the leftists who falsely cry bigotry upon your every breath, it includes those we may have deemed “incapable” of listening, and it even includes those hell-bent on killing us, for that is the way to break through the language gap between the opposing sides; if we cannot acknowledge the inherent humanity in all of us, then we do not deserve the very blessings we strive to preserve.
And lastly, we need to inspire others to follow our lead.
Deciding to take action on such matters is in no way an easy decision. It is often all too easy to look at our friends, family, and career and resolve that the potential costs of putting them all on the line outweigh the risks.
But for the sake of ourselves and our posterity, walk through the uncertainty with your head held high; because as much as we might fear the persecution of man now, in the end, we all have someone much greater to worry about.
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