Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Since when is listening to your mom a good idea?

Hopefully, I'll be taking down those question marks at the top of the page if anyone (who doesn't share a last name with me and feels therein compelled) reads this thing. Until then, it doesn't even merit being a leap of faith - more like a skip. So we'll see how it pans out...

I've been told to get with the times and start bloggin' for awhile, but I put it off...and put it off. I was encouraged a few minutes ago (yep, by Dani) to just pick a topic that "interested" me and get it going. So I am. My interests are too broad to really be blogworthy - what is there really out there to add to conversations on how good Albert Pujols is or how bad we really need to get out of Iraq.

I tried to think of something more timely...and it hit me right away. This economy....yep, we've heard it all there too, at least enough to be bored to tears by our own current events. Or made too impatient by our light-speed Internet culture to take the time to find out exactly what happened, and why - "I can read a BBC guide explaining the Bear Stearns meltdown and what it precipitated in five minutes? That's gonna take waaaay too long. In that time I can change my profile pic five times and tweet seventeen times and -" at least those are the kinds of things that go through my head! Sound familiar? Well, these are our times and this is our crisis, as easy as the world around us has made it for us to just sit by and watch passively online as it happens.

And by the above pronouns "us" and "our" I do mean pretty much every American, but as a blogger (ooh, okay, maybe I can get into this, I like the sound of another self-manufactured title), the people that I'm specifically interested in bringing into this are young grads. I got out of Mizzou in May of '08, and the people that I most hope might include me in their blogosphere (it is a word, right? I'm probably using it incorrectly) are people who are young, educated, and making it/trying it make it/utterly failing in an national economy and a global crisis that we totally did not bargain for on that night four or five years ago that we went to bed early/made new friends/passed out in the second floor lounge - before freshman orientation the next day. In the interests of full disclosure - I have a bachelor's degree, minored in a foreign language and studied abroad there, wrote a senior thesis in international crimes law, and earlier today happily accepted an hourly-wage job at a drycleaner's. I promise you it is nothing like the internships or passionate campaign work that I envisioned for myself at this stage of my life four years ago. And I didn't even study art history! (Sorry.) The world is just not the same place it was four years ago.

But I definitely think it can, and is going to, get better. And I do believe a huge part of the solution lies with us - the young, unemployed or underemployed, frustrated but proud degree-holders (or the couple of almost-theres that I'll tag in a corresponding facebook post). I was motivated to write tonight because I think I'm just so sick of the talking heads - the daily routine of the blah-blah-blah this is what we need to do to get ourselves out of this. That stuff only works if people listen. And if what they're listening to makes sense to them.

That's why I want to hear what you guys think - and write about what you tell me. We have a serious talent pool out there - let me drop some initials. The two RNs in my life are intelligent, driven, and bound for success. RL is a gifted and fantastic reporter and he knows it. He's employed, doing well, and really enjoying it. KP is going to be a nurse, and brings a patience and a sense of humor to her work that is truly admirable. JA is a dedicated teacher, who brings each day to the classroom enthusiasm and a willingness to truly understand and help that I think every teacher could learn from. TR is a business student with knowledge in more areas than I could ever hope to have, and a heart to match it. EJ is a young attorney who astounds me every time I talk to her with her intelligence and desire to understand the world and be good to it.

And there you have it. A nice dish for the fear-mongers to chomp on. A musician, a reporter, two attorneys, a nursing student, a high-school teacher. Smart, successful, ready to take on the world. What about us makes the world not want to invest in us?

With candidates like these, how could we not win? How can this generation not regenerate the U.S.? You, yourself, whoever had the decency to read this blog post (thank you!!), what do you bring to the table? Chances are, something good. Because of that, I want to know what you think, and repeating, I want to write about you. WE are the people who are going to get us out of this, young grads entering a daunting America and somehow making it work, not the morning talk show yappers who probably don't even practice what they preach (spend, yeah right, we all know these people are pulling stocks left and right). The real responsibility lies with the people getting up and going to work - and confidently spending and investing the money that they make.

I think the first step is realizing what an impact we now make. We've been eating Easy Mac and untagging embarassing pictures for four or five years, but now we're at the forefront of any substantial change. We have got to do this, and if we want to look around in another four or five years and see a country in which we are still proud, secure, and happy, we've got to do it well. So here's what I want to hear from you guys: what do you think is happening? Why? How do you feel about it? Who's to blame? Should they/how should they be punished? Is it affecting you? Is is affecting people you care about? What should we as a demographic do about it? What CAN we as a demographic do about it?

Anything and everything, I want to hear about. Personal stories, philosophical ramblings, political rants, informed criticism, uninformed criticism, productive ideas. Let's get something going here!


  1. Greed. Basic human greed is what's tearing the world apart. It's how we got in this situation, it's why all those risky decisions were made, it's why the AIG bonuses were paid & not returned, it's why lobbyists push through bad policy, it's why politicians give into them, it's why companies fire thousands of employees first instead of as a last resort, it's why everything is being privatized, it's why everything is being outsourced, it's why wars over resources continue, it's why genocide continues, it's why freedoms are suppressed worldwide, it's why government aid fails to reach/help its intended recipients, it's why damages aren't paid to those who deserve them, it's why subprime mortgages blew up, it's why none of the people responsible for the economic meltdown will be criminally charged, blah blah blah. No one wants to risk their piece of the pie, but they'll risk someone else's in a heartbeat.

  2. Now don't hear me saying "the sky is falling." Greed is sexy and hard to resist and it has become something that is overwhelmingly rewarded instead of something so disgusting, we refuse to touch it. BUT, it's up to US as a generation to do business differently: to make personal sacrifice more admirable than wealth. To think about the consequences of our actions when WE are the heads of these economic institutions, when WE are the politicians, when WE are the professionals, the homeowners, the parents. To live as GLOBAL citizens first instead of Americans first. To think about the little people all the time instead of our own wallets. To do what makes us come alive instead of what gets us the best salary. To live according to our means instead of trying to achieve some unrealistic, unhealthy and ultimately unsatisfying ideal of wealth and success. WE can become a more other-focused generation.

    I will now get down from my soap box, thank you.

  3. Julie - I don't think it was a soapbox! I think it was a great response, exactly the kind that I'm hoping for. For those of you that don't know Julie, her actions speak at least as loudly as her words - she was the founder and president of STAND Mizzou. As far the post goes, I have to say I'm in partial agreement. Greed is almost certainly what is tearing the world apart, but greed as both a disease and a symptom has been around forever, what's making it such a specific catalyst now? The phenomenon of credit as a corollary of greed is something that has spun out of control, and in certain respects helped to put us where we are now. Do you think that greed would be as much of a catalyst in our present crisis if it had not been so willfully and irresponsibly aided by a take-what-you-can-get credit establishment? I ask because I think (and may very well be corrected) that greed is in itself a human function, emotion, whatever you call it. It's always there.Capitalistic leanings are probably inherent in humanity - its arguably the first system of doing business that ever arose. I think what led to our crisis was not only greed, but the conditions of the economy around us that exacerbated that greed. An irresponsible credit market, the growing if latent in American history belief that we should rely on the government to save us, the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality that spurred millions of us to take on mortgages and car payments that we really had no hope of realistically affording. And that said, I'm interested in everyone's thoughts. Especially yours, Julie.

  4. I have been through good times and bad times. I have learned in the good times kick back and enjoy it. when things get tough. Do what Americans have always done. Work twice as hard.Spend less.My Grandmother always sent a $5 check for my birthday. I told her "Granny,I am an adult you don't have to send the money,besides what can you buy with $5" She said you could rent a video and buy a bag of popcorn and have a very nice evening. Use your imagination.It doesn't take a lot of money to have fun.I work two jobs.It suxs.But I am paying my bills.Use your computer to find coupons to get good deals.Be persistent in seeking employment,Than work twice as hard as the next worker......Ponytail Tim