It’s been a heck of a year.

At many times, I was afraid for the state of Christianity.

2016 was the year of shouting, and softer voices temporarily got drowned out. This was also the year of labels. The candidates had labels and so did Christians. The media spoke of “the Evangelicals” as synonymous with “the Christians”, which was simplistic and false.  It had its place in election reporting, but it was a form of shorthand that was deceptive, leading people to believe that there is only 1 kind of Christian and there is a checklist to be followed. Call me Pollyanna, but I think there is as much diversity in Christianity as there is in any other area, and I think that is a fantastic and necessary thing for actual unity to occur. I think that what we non- Evangelicals bring to the party is also valuable.

I have been a Christian my whole life, but not an Evangelical, because my personal belief it that religion and politics is a bad pairing. Politics is a tribal blood sport! It’s “our team” vs. “their team.” It, of necessity, relies on soundbites, shorthand, and over- simplification and generalization of issues and the categorization and labeling of people. I think we can all agree that we have had enough of that.

My first  Christmas wish  for Christianity it that we drop the labels and checklists! Stop the madnessJ It is what is in our hearts, that only God himself knows that is what matters. We can’t attribute intent to someone because of how they voted.

Allow me to use a little humor to make my point. Is God a Republican? Is he an Evangelical? Did he have a favorite in the election? Was he rooting for Hillary or Bernie? Or Russia?

Though a registered Republican, I have voted Democrat or Independent in the past 3 elections, because I don’t want people in Washington that I have never met telling me how to be a Christian. Am I still a good Christian if I really don’t like Congress or the President telling me how to live my life?

What if I believe in separation of church and state despite the fact that I’m a Christian?  Do I forfeit my faith card?

Yes, these scenarios are ridiculous.  Can we stop pretending that they aren’t?

There are as many shades and flavors of faith as there are people professing it. There is not only room for all of us, but all of us are needed to raise our voices during this Christmas season and be reminders of what we actually agree upon, and it is a lot, despite what we see on the news and our Twitter and Facebook feeds. So, my second Christmas wish is that we ,put those sources of division away for at least some of each day during the holidays and focus on what draws us together.

The following are the things that we agree upon: We believe in loving our neighbors as ourselves and at least attempting to see them with understanding. We believe in peace and compassion, good will toward men, assuming the best until proven otherwise. Each of us, not matter what our faith, believe it is sacred and not something to be exploited by anyone –ever. We believe in extending grace, because we have received it. We believe in opportunity and optimism.

We are still the most compassionate, generous, open minded and open hearted nation on earth. The labels don’t matter. We know who we are. And I think God’s still rooting for us.





background-1As Jon Oliver said recently, “ Look way up there in the sky. You see that? That’s rock bottom!”

Dear God, we need joy, laugher, beauty, and truth that cannot be tarnished or destroyed with “future revelations”. We need to stop for just a moment and agree on the myriad of things we actually agree on. We need to channel the intense emotions and angst we justifiably feel in this year that is nothing put a parade of horribles into something that isn’t tearing ourselves or others down. We need to see and be inspired by beauty, humor, and truth and let it heal us and change us and let it be enough. Because it has to be. Because that is the only remedy, the only antidote to this war of words.

We have seen how words can divide, destroy, corrode, and manufacture fear, anger, and despair. We have watched the experts at spin and distortion, and had to take note of their power. What we write, what we speak, has the power to damn us or save us. Fewer and fewer people read for enjoyment, as if it is pointless, but that precisely is the point. We need to see truth and beauty somewhere, so we remember what it looks like.

  1. Writers and other artists, tell the truth. We have no choice. Special interests and money can’t corrupt most of us, because we have nothing to do with either. We reflect the truth of what is going on in our times. It may be our own personal truth, but it is authentic truth, all the same. It is an effective counter-balance to the land of lies that has become our political landscape. It grounds us to reality without shouting in our faces. It stands on its own, and really can’t be tilted or spun.

I am frequently asked why I write in the same tone of voice as someone would ask, “ Hey! Why are you strolling naked down the street?” The implication is, of course, the odds against monetary success are so low, why bother? The answer to me is, the times we live in require it. I have to do it and can’t back away from it.

2) Beautiful writing, like any thing of beauty, restores our faith in the universe, if only for a little while. It’s like a little meditation on hope.

Words are powerful, as are joy, beauty and hope, inspiration and finally, perspective, and words can create all of these good things. There is already enough invective, finger pointing, and anger. Almost everyone has had enough of it and is looking for the opposite, an oasis.

3) Writers can reflect the times in a non horrifying way, through crafting a work that is beautiful in its own right, shifting the focus from what is hopeless to what is possible, even if just for today. And that matters.

4) We will remind you of our shared humanity and the very good things about it. We will make you laugh and make you cry about something other than the state of our country. We will create something beautiful that cannot be destroyed in the next new cycle. Things that will endure no matter what happens on November 8th.



So, keep writing, even if it’s in a journal. That’s where many a poem, a novel, an opus began. Keep reading— we all need you.

I’m going to keep doing both. I’m going to keep trying to ignite the sparks that alight the beauty, sacredness, and commonality of our daily lives, and celebrate the beauty of our humanity.

L.E. Kinzie lives in Austin, Texas, with a ridiculous and ever-changing menagerie of pets and her family. A recovering ex-lawyer, she is a passionate observer of humanity and the common threads that bind us all together—beauty, creation, and creating art.













Although the body is shattered

into jagged remnants,

a glistening ghost 

of its resplendent glory,

the unified, grounding base

flung in the wind

and raining sharp drops upon us,

redlogoa warm, smooth- edged shard sits

barely visible and glowing on a distant hill:

It still matters, and we still care

desperately, each of us,

our hearts still are not yet closed.

There is a shard- shaped opening.

L E Kinzie


Making Your Getaway

path_love_friendshipUnder the pavement, the dirt dreams of grass.    Wendell Berry

Like even the dirt under the pavement, we all aspire to greater things. Ah, but the universe is so uncooperative with what we know is the absolute best for us and everyone else. It is rigidly operating by itself with no assistance from us. It seems oblivious to our pleading and ministrations, as we hurl ourselves at it with more and more force trying to have an impact that doesn’t break us in the process.

Everyone talks about surrender as a solution. But sometimes (I know I speak blasphemy here) surrender doesn’t work and, when it doesn’t, there is a very concrete reason. Surrender doesn’t work without it’s essential precursor.



Failure is actually the gateway to almost everything good. Specifically, the key to getting our hearts’ desire is admitting total defeat and giving up! Sometimes our best efforts and best intent lead us the wrong way, especially when we are married to a particular outcome and can’t see ourselves being peaceful without it. Without this acknowledgment, how can true surrender possibly occur?

Those people who truly are successful and content have become adaptable to the fact that everything can change on a dime. They face life on life’s terms with integrity.

One of the definitions of integrity is undiminished.

The truth can be a real bitch. We get where we want to be by seeing that what we have done hasn’t really worked this time, embracing it, and not letting it diminish us one little bit– not our joy, our dreams, our faith, our belief in and love for ourselves, or the recognition that we have value—always, no matter what is happening.

Someone very wise gave me some great advice in one of my first corporate jobs, which I didn’t heed until much later:

The key to being successful in any career is being willing and ready to walk away at any time. You have to know when to make a timely exit.

I now understand it applies to my thinking as well as my career.

If I am obsessing about how I think something should work out for me or for others, I’m not going to get any smarter listening to my own circular thoughts. Time to heed the exit sign.

So, can we accept that out story is our perception, but maybe not the absolute truth, that what we think is bad for us, actually turns out to be good sometimes, that what we think is good for us, can turn out to be anything but? Can we accept that we aren’t ever in control of anything, but that’s actually a great thing, because someone or something of infinitely greater wisdom, love, compassion and insight is in charge? Can we accept these eventual truths with enthusiasm, love, and personality undiminished? 

If we can, life is an adventure, full of miracles, like a never-ending road trip.

Exit sign

Is a long green line

to freedom.

Taste of release,

sweet feeling of peace,

sound of heavenly music and praise,

I can feel my hands raise

in exultation,

cool tingle of expectation,

smell of fresh- cut grass

and spring,

as I look at the horizon and sing:

Amen. An end is always a beginning.




Miss me? I fell into the abyss. Hate it when that happens. I started out creating something amazing! But somehow I ended up in . . . . commerce

An artist’s life can be marked in distinct periods of BC and AD (Before Commerce and After Development). In the middle is purgatory.

This is much the same life cycle of an entrepreneur as they create a product, company, or app and then engage in the process of attempting to fund it and bring it to the marketplace.

Creation and commerce couldn’t be more different, and yet, one can deceptively and suddenly become the other. It starts with a crazy dream, becomes real and tangible, and then can become an existential crisis.

At the heart of me, I love to create beauty and move people in some way. That’s what drives me in whatever setting I’m in—contributing something that wasn’t there before. It’s where I find the happiest, fullest, truest version of myself. It’s where I am surest of who I am and that God is here with me. This is because at this phase my ego has disappeared, and I am merged with the thing I am creating. The soul is 100% naked and beautiful.

But, the biggest trick of the ego is to make us think it isn’t there, and that’s when things get capsized.

For example, I just finished my Dream Creation. All of us have one of those in us, I think. I couldn’t leave this earth without doing a collection of the best of my poetry, and the creation of this baby was sheer ecstasy, like nothing else. This, to me is the essence of creating– total freedom to take it wherever the spirit leads me, all while linked to my Creator.

But, after I finished creating this gorgeous, vibrant, personally transformative baby, I entered the production zone. I stopped feeling and doing, and started trying and forcing solutions, timeframes, and deadlines. I necessarily engaged others’ help to assist me into turning it into a beautiful package for others to consume and hopefully enjoy. This is exactly when ego took over and I found myself on the sadistic hamster wheel of others’ choices, others’ deadlines, others’ priorities and schedules—all completely necessary. But the second it became a product, God’s timing went out the window, as I tried to manage and exceed other’s expectations and even my own. When ego entered, so did the idea of competition, which I’d never even considered, and then fear. What if I’m not enough? What if my baby is really ugly, and I just don’t know it?

Coincidentally, I felt progressively tired, overwhelmed, irritated, angry and hopeless, equally in turns. Because commerce is completely outwardly driven, it’s about everyone else and whether they like you or are even paying attention. Paradoxically, my ego had stepped in trying to manage everything and excel, but the rest of me shrunk.

What happened? I had let the spirit ebb out of the work– the very essence and soul of it, in my hurry to for it to be born.

I now realize process is a metaphor that should stay on the assembly line. Creativity isn’t a process used in a factory: it’s a birth.

To be mired in process and mechanics forces the ego to take over and manage, like it’s an assembly line. Ego will always be tied to fear, and fear will always block God. But when I focus on fear I’m focusing on limitations: anathema to the creative spirit, which wants to run like a herd of mustangs.

The answer, at least for me, is to approach the commerce side of the equation with the same creative spirit of adventure I approach the creative phase, and to only allow limitations when it applies to time spent in commerce.

I can’t control who sees my art, who likes it, who buys it. I can reach people; if I do the best I can, while respecting that this new commercial landscape is the Wild, Wild West. I have to do my part, but not all of it is up to me. My creator is bigger than the Wild, Wild West, and he can change the topography as needed.

Maybe that’s why I miss Prince so much. He could deliver a production but he was never a product; he wouldn’t stand for it. His identity was his art, take him or leave him. He never submitted to the process.

I can’t ignore commerce, or it will ignore me. But maybe I can try to keep it in its rightful place, and limit the amount of time I spend in and on it so it doesn’t creep into my creative space, like the blob, crowding out creation itself, and the joy that goes with it.





We all know what “ American Values” are, right? In this election year I’m not so sure.

As a nation, we seem to have lost our own identity, and found nothing but a deep, blinding rage. I must confess to having the same anger. The only people who truly don’t entertain the possibility that this whole system is rigged are the 1 percent benefiting from that same system and the politicians, of course, breaking America, so they can promise to fix it. Each candidate seems to espouse values that are different from the candidate next to them, and many are advocating positions that fly in the face of our constitution, our treasured right of freedom of speech, the rule of law and one of the founding premises of our whole way of life- -separation of church and state. We have one candidate who has all but told us outright that he wants to be a dictator, who has refused to disassociate himself from two white supremacist groups . . . and we love him. But our anger may be blinding us to reality and placing us in the alternate universe of reality TV –only we won’t get to turn it off.

For instance, I am a Christian, but I don’t want a theocracy, and I’m really wondering if that is where we are headed. I think part of the reason there is so much support for Trump is that he seems to be the only Republican candidate that is not intent on building a theocracy, and many of us are frightened of such an occurrence.

America was founded based upon freedom from religious dictates and religious persecution coming from the State. America was originally populated and governed by devout persons fleeing state established religion, and was created with a very important safeguard of our liberty- separation of Church and State. My being a Christian does not free me from that history.

We poke fun of and decry Sharia law, which is the product of melding religion with the government. In fact, we regularly send our soldiers in harm’s ways to fight the injustices and carnage brought about by such regimes. But, if you listen to some of the campaign rhetoric, this is exactly what we want to become. When we don’t agree with the Supreme Court and the law, we will simply ignore them, because “ God’s law is a higher law.” If we suspend the rule of law and the very structure of our government because some don’t agree, what happens to a land by and for the people?

More importantly, do you want the President or any government official interpreting the word of God for you and your life? What if you are an atheist? What if you are Jewish? Do you want a government with the attitude, “ It’s Christianity or the highway?” Ted Cruz being the arbiter of what is right and fair according to God… No, thank you. I’m sure he is a great guy, but no. Not even Rubio, thanks.

The one word all of us can still agree on as an American value is freedom. Freedom to say and do as we please. Freedom to associate with whomever we want. Freedom to gather in protest…unless at a political rally? All of us remember and want to keep the freedom to practice our religion, but with that same freedom, goes the equal freedom from religion, meaning government cramming certain religious beliefs or practices down our throats. Here, the definition of “freedom” gets murky.

In this very scary campaign “ freedom” has come to mean freedom from all laws we don’t like. Freedom from Supreme Court decisions we don’t like. Freedom from the duty of our elected officials to work with and compromise with each other for the greater good of their constituents—us. Freedom from standards or statesmanship. Freedom from facts or scientific bad news. Freedom for scientists themselves, their research, and their curriculum in our schools. Freedom from having to be concerned about our fellow man. Haven’t we had enough of this? We all have to work with people we don’t like. We all work with and live with people who have different ideas and values than we do. Why can’t Congress and the President do what all of us do every day?

Healthy skepticism of science is a good thing. Remember the nutritional pyramid, that’s been turned upside down three times? Statistically, one can prove anything.

But, that’s different than ignoring what our own eyes can see all around us. How can our children grow up to make the world a better place, if we tell them not to believe their own eyes?

We are all angry to the point of rage at what our Congress and government is doing to us and instead of what it should be doing for us, but if we let our anger blind us, we could get anarchy… or even worse—a dictatorship, in the bargain.

I’ve heard a lot about the American value of respect in this campaign- getting it, not giving it. “No one abroad respects us anymore.” America isn’t “ great” anymore?

I went to the latest Michael Moore film recently, Where To Invade Next. I prepared myself for an anti- American piece of propaganda. It was exactly the opposite. It was a love letter to America and a reminder that we can solve problems- we’ve been solving other people’s for centuries, and a suggestion that we take that wonderful American can-do value, and apply it to our own country. He pointed out that the countries that are “ beating us”, in education, standard of living, health care, and putting financial criminals in jail, never set out to “ beat us”. They set out to borrow our values and applied them to their own people, usually with our help. The most poignant scene in the film comes when a group of Italians are asked what they think of America. The answer was quite a jolt: “ You couldn’t pay me enough to live there. You act like you hate each other. I wouldn’t want to be treated like you treat each other.”

This is what makes America great: we still rush to aid virtually anyone in need or who is being oppressed… somewhere else. Can we at least focus for a minute on ourselves with clear eyes and see the millions of people who don’t have enough to eat, our crumbling bridges, our poisonous water and the college graduates who can’t find work at a living wage? I believe we still have the will to dig in and fix our problems and to hold our “ leaders” accountable if they will not help us do this, because America never stopped being great.

It is still great because the average American is a pretty great person. Though facing unprecedented challenges, the average American cares about the poor, the oppressed, racial and criminal justice, his neighbor across the street and last, but not least, peace. We’ve exported the best parts of America: fairness, justice, hope, the ability to look at ourselves and change for the better and the American Dream itself. Let’s re-patriate them!



good fireworks


1) Remember thoughts are real, life altering things, but feelings are NOT facts.

We all know the saying by Napoleon Hill: Anything the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

That saying is true for better or worse. We can create an atmosphere of optimism and possibilities in our minds, which then outpours from us to the outer world, or we can create forbidding obstacle courses in our own minds by imagining the worst-case scenario of everything, and the world outside becomes a menacing landscape.

I have been reading a lot of Brene’ Brown lately, and she writes that most fear is about scarcity of some kind.

One tiny thought of scarcity leads to another, and then another. I think, There isn’t enough money or success to go around. The economy is so bad; I’m never going to get a good job. Why even try for my dream job? I don’t have enough then translates to I am not enough. That is a feeling, and it is a mirage.

2) Never judge your insides by others’ outsides. Don’t assume anyone has more of anything than you, or let that assumption defeat you. That is another mirage.

I have walked into friends’ ” mansions” many times to find no furniture and bare mattresses strewn on the floor. ” The art of appearance” is just that– an art. All of us have, and to a certain extent, need a carefully constructed persona we present to the world. To live my life and label myself as less based on someone else’s persona is going to keep me in fear and shame.

3) Cultivate a Belief in Abundance. The only remedy there can possibly ever be to this mirage of scarcity is the belief that abundance is possible for even us. Every trite expression I ever hated applies here: Anthony Robbins called it an attitude of gratitude. Others say count your blessings, or use a gratitude list. The sayings are trite, because they are true.

I prefer to call it mindfulness. If I get out of the impending apocalypse in my head long enough to focus around me for just a few moments, I see how much I already have, and that gives me a sense of the possibilities for the future.

Notice I said belief in abundance. There is still commitment and work involved. Bill Gates was not born a billionaire. He had years of honing his craft, but he believed it could happen and it did.

4) Have an Affinity for Infinity.

Embrace the idea that our Source is infinite, and loves us all equally and perfectly. Perfect love casts out fear. God is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t play favorites. We are all candidates for that boundless love and supply.

But, if I believe my source is money, fame, or currying the favor of influential people, I may chase after and even get those things, but I will gain the fear of losing them, and lose the source of true power for fighting all fear in the process.

What you want is always available to you, depending on what you want: if you want wisdom, discernment, provision, protection, favor– the things God can provide, they are yours merely by spending time with him and asking. You are enough, because time spent with him transforms both you and your circumstances.

God is simplicity itself.

Emmet Fox





These are my lamest resolutions, found in my journal almost every New Years going back at least a decade.

1) Drink less red wine.

This is a dumb resolution, but made for a good reason: There is the potential for abuse where alcohol is involved. But, if I’m honest, it has more to do with others, their own issues, or what they might think, than it does with me. I like red wine. It’s beautiful to smell, see swirling in a gorgeous glass, and to sip and enjoy at day’s end as I play the piano, or indulge in something covered in tomato sauce. I’ve already given up gluten and most vegetables by necessity. Small pleasures are not inconsequential.

2) Eat healthier.

What does that even mean? Healthier for whom? Gwyneth Paltrow?  I’ve been “ watching what I eat” for years, with decreasing levels of enjoyment. (See number 1) I’m not overweight, and though my cholesterol may be a tad high at times, my heart is healthy.

Basically, I’m watching what other people eat and trying to copy them. That’s stupid.

Maybe my body needs what it craves.

3) Exercise Every Day.

I’ve spent years lifting weights. I hate them. I also spent years running on a treadmill like a gerbil, which I only enjoyed on days where I felt so stressed I would stroke out. I wanted to look good, compared to others. Who cares? I got to about 9 or 10 percent body fat and discovered I looked like a well- muscled, but very sick skeleton. Exercise is never a bad idea, nor is eating well, but my body type does not look good doing exercises I hate. I’m never going to look like Ronda Rousey. I loved running outdoors and put in about 6 miles a day doing it, until my knees mutinied. Now, I swim outdoors. The common denominator is the outdoors. Today it was 40 degrees and I still swam, because I love it.

4) Lower my stress level.

This has never happened because starving and doing things I don’t like makes me irritable and nervous. I’m all for pushing past my comfort zone, but if I push and still hate kale, can I stop eating it?



These resolutions are all extremely desirable and effective habits, but they were lame for me because they attempted to impose dramatic changes from an outside source, like a prison warden.

They fail, because my life is the manifestation of my thoughts, and those are so much harder to control than my waistline.

If I get no joy from something, I’m not going to keep doing it.

This year I resolve to renew my mind and soul, thereby changing from within at just the perfect, organic pace. I resolve to collect friends, joyous moments, and time with my own spirit until I become a better version of myself that pleases others and my Higher Power. That might be something worth putting in my journal.




Hello again, dear friends! I’ve missed you. I’ve been locked in a room for several months chained to my computer, finishing my second book, which it took me 14 years to write and one year to edit. I finally looked up and saw Thanksgiving on the horizon. It’s time to return to the world of humanity.

For me, gratitude is not a Thanksgiving cliché, now replaced with Black Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is the essential remedy of the fear, frustration and confusion living in today’s world can cause on a daily basis. Gratitude and inspiration breed hope and courage; fear takes them away. So, here is a little dose of hope for the holidays.

1) I’m grateful for the French people– even in the wake of the latest round of devastating attacks on Paris– beautiful, proud, un- cowed.

The French response to the fact that one of the terrorists may have pretended to be a Syrian refugee? They not only upheld their commitment to said Syrian refugees, but also deepened that commitment.

The Parisian response to all- out brutality and hatred was not to hide in their homes, but to continue to enjoy the pleasures of their great city, and to live as only the French can. This people have always known exactly whom they are, and what they were made for, and fear will not change that. Their art, culture and joie de vivre have always inspired and served as a model for capturing the best of every moment. Now their strength, resolve and courage do so.

2) I ‘m grateful that there is always another source of inspiration just around the corner. The world is full of unsung heroes quietly living their lives.

Life is bewildering, frustrating, dangerous, and exhausting. Sometimes it makes me simultaneously frightened to death and of the frame of mind, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!

But, each of our lives is populated with people who help us and give us the love and courage to be exactly who we are. For every image that inspires fear, there are many more people that inspire faith, courage and admiration.

3) I’m thankful that I am still capable of being inspired by people.

4) I ‘m thankful for the movie, Field Of Dreams, and others like it dealing with faith in the unseen, in one’s self, and the Hero’s Journey. I ‘m thankful for that old Big Daddy Weave song called What I was Made For, which I play frequently when I’m in a funk, and the reminder it provides that I, like each and every one of us, was made by my creator for a specific purpose, and the spiritual journey I must make is finding what that purpose is, sometimes daily.

5) I am so fortunate and grateful that something like a movie, song, or book can live in me like a joyful virus for weeks and months, keeping me strong, and that there are others like me, discussing, forming book clubs, film clubs, artist groups and retreats and other homes away from home.

I get to catch inspiration, use it as fuel to create something from nothing, and hopefully once in a while, pass that inspiration on.

6) I ‘m grateful that there still are books and poetry in the world and that people still read them and love them passionately.

7) I’m doubly grateful that, after so many different directions, careers and mistakes, I am fairly certain my purpose is to create. This certainty stems from these wrong turns and course corrections, all of them essential to the process. It also arises from the fact that, at this point in my life, I can’t refrain or abstain from creating.

More people are writing books now, than there are people who still read. So what? I do this because it is what I was made for. A late bloomer still flowers:)

8) I’m thankful I have a dream. Bringing this dream into being  usually makes me spring out of bed every day with excitement and optimism. At times, it prompts me to spring out of bed with cursing and wailing, but I am thankful that it will, in fact, be born in a few months, and the creative process never ends. It provides me with joy and strength and restores my faith and youth, when the world has worn me out.

9) I am thankful for the struggle. If it was easy, I would have no need for courage, perseverance, help, or the common sense to know I don’t know enough.

10) Mostly I’m grateful for the fact that God brought each of you into my life, as a continual source of inspiration. That makes me feel like the most fortunate person in the world. You are the unsung heroes I refer to in paragraph 2.

11) Oh, and coffee; I can’t forget coffee!

Without the wonderful aroma, the beautiful-bitter taste and the sizable jolt it provides, I’d never make it out of bed to ponder the imponderables, journey towards my purpose, or write or communicate anything intelligible to anyone. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks to each and every one of you!





(image by David Eyestone, used with permission.)

I view the Millenial perspective as especially urgent this election year.

As the parent of two Millenials, what they see makes me sad.

They are still fresh enough to see the discrepancies between what they are being told and how they are actually living, and they still care enough to take it personally.

They don’t believe what older generations are saying about America, specifically the following points:

1) America is the greatest nation on earth.

I remember the night Obama was elected for his first term. My kids were crying with joy, and my daughter said, ” Mom, tonight America lived up to the hype!” Whether one agreed with the results that election night or not, all came together to do something historic. France said, ” This is the America we love!”

Since that time, I’ve lost count of the number of times my children have seen the entire government shut down due to Congressional petty politics. We have been at war their whole lives. This generation has no reason to have faith in their government, charged with running the country.

More importantly, these kids understand how interrelated and interdependent every country on earth is, and feel they are citizens of the world. They will not buy into the us versus them mentality.

They know social security, job security, and perhaps a middle- class existence will not be there for them. They understand they will have to hustle their whole lives, and stand out in every way from the pack. There is a reason for their drive to be famous, to be a brand, instantly recognizable.


2) We are the land of opportunity.

Not for them. A large number of them are working minimum wages, after shouldering mountains of debt to get the college educations they were told would assure their futures, and from their perspective, no one seems to care if they can live on that wage or ever pay off the debt.

In fact, Congress declined to lower the interest rates for college loans, and minimum wage has been nothing more than an election year hot potato.

Employment figures include any job; so yes, my daughter, who graduated with a Fashion Merchandising Degree, with a minor in business, is employed– but she works at DSW for $9 an hour, which is two dollars more than most local retail stores pay. So with a college degree in her field, she is worse off than if she had skipped college and gone to work in a retail store straight out of high school.

Ditto for her friends. One worked for free in an internship for two years until finally getting a job, with sizable debt to pay off. Another left the country.

Increasingly the land of opportunity is someplace other than America, for these graduates.

It really hurts me to see that some in this generation believe they are a permanent underclass, with diminishing chances of rising. That may seem very fatalistic, but how does a person making $8 an hour plan or invest for their future? No one is saying social security or Medicaid will be there for this generation, not even the politicians. No one is talking to or about this generation at all.

I know the results for graduates of Ivy League schools are very different, but most people don’t go to Ivy League schools. Perhaps even more importantly, this generation wants to be out in the world, and feel a part of it. They aren’t afraid of places they’ve never been.

3) America is the safest nation on earth.

For whom? This generation was in elementary school or younger on 9/11. Safe, impregnable America does not exist for them.

While we may deny, our children have been watching. We keep talking about our enemies over there. We are more likely to be hurt by our fellow countrymen then anybody over there.

How many mass shootings have there been just since Sandy Hook? This isn’t a political piece about guns or mental health; it’s about our children, and so, it’s about both guns and mental health. What do these young people see being done about these two huge looming issues? Nothing. What we do is less important, than our willingness to do something.

4) You are the hope of the future. We want to hear your voice!


I don’t know if it was coincidence, ” election fraud reform”, or something else, but both of my kids, who were in college, attempted to vote in the last election and were turned away. Both, like very many college students, were going to college in cities other than the city they were born. They had their voter registration and their IDs, and were told “You must drive back to the county where you registered to vote.”

We vote on a Tuesday, and classes are held the next day. If the voice of young America matters, why not make voting day a student holiday, so they can get to where they need to be to vote?

We want to teach this generation so many things: the value of a work ethic, actual face- to face conversations, independence, simply being happy in one’s own company, and yes, how to get out of their parents’ basements!

But perhaps the student is also the teacher. There have been tectonic shifts in our world, and it is we who need help adapting.