WAKE THE FUCK UP!

David and Shadra Bruce

Have you ever gone to the circus where they have those fun house mirrors? You know, the kind you stand in front of and it distorts your body all out of proportion. Right now, the Republican Party is as distorted as an image in a fun house mirror.

The leaders of the Republican party no longer represent standard Republican values and instead have been completely bought and paid for by wealthy corporations and SuperPacs who wield their money like swords, striking down any who would stand in the way of their greed.

2012-repugsWhile they tout small government, state rights, and the constitution, they pervert the foundation upon which this country was founded in order to protect their power base, seeing everyone as a disposable and consumable resource to be used to further their profits. This is not the Republican party of 1960; this is not the Republican Party of the 1970s, this is not the Republican Party of the 1980s.

This is the Republican Party of hate, war mongering, willfully lying, wantonly misrepresenting, hidden agendas, racism, and backwards thinking. We can’t help but wonder how nearly half the country can still be blindly faithful to this distorted version of what was once the party that championed the protection of the poor, the marginalized, and even the environment.

Samuel L. Jackson’s tongue-in-cheek story hour has a message, and while it’s a little rough around the edges for those who cringe at foul language, it is time to WAKE THE FUCK UP.

Voter Registration Deadlines for 2012 Presidental Election

Mississippi: Saturday October 6
Nevada: Saturday October 6
South Carolina: Saturday October 6
Alaska: Sunday October 7
Arkansas: Monday October 8
Hawaii: Monday October 8
Tennessee: Monday October 8
Washington: Monday October 8
 
OCTOBER 9
Arizona: Tuesday October 9
Colorado: Tuesday October 9
District of Columbia: Tuesday October 9
Florida: Tuesday October 9
Georgia: Tuesday October 9
Illinois: Tuesday October 9
Indiana: Tuesday October 9
Kentucky: Tuesday October 9
Louisiana: Tuesday October 9
Michigan: Tuesday October 9
Montana: Tuesday October 9
New Mexico: Tuesday October 9
Ohio: Tuesday October 9
Pennsylvania: Tuesday October 9
Texas: Tuesday October 9
Utah: Tuesday October 9
 
OCTOBER 10
Missouri: Wednesday October 10
 
OCTOBER 12
Idaho: Friday October 12
New York: Friday October 12
North Carolina: Friday October 12
Oklahoma: Friday October 12
 
OCTOBER 13
Delaware: Saturday October 13
 
OCTOBER 15
Virginia: Monday October 15
 
OCTOBER 16
Kansas: Tuesday October 16
Maine: Tuesday October 16
Maryland: Tuesday October 16
New Jersey: Tuesday October 16
Oregon: Tuesday October 16
West Virginia: Tuesday October 16
 
OCTOBER 17
Massachusetts: Wednesday October 17
Minnesota: Wednesday October 17
Wisconsin: Wednesday October 17
 
OCTOBER 19
Nebraska: Friday October 19
 
OCTOBER 22
California: Monday October 22
South Dakota: Monday October 22
Wyoming: Monday October 22
 
OCTOBER 23
Connecticut: Tuesday October 23
 
OCTOBER 26
Alabama: Friday October 26
 
OCTOBER 27
Iowa: Saturday October 27
New Hampshire: Saturday October 27
 
OCTOBER 31
Vermont: Wednesday October 31
 
North Dakota: No registration necessary

The Divided States of America

by David T. Bruce

No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

~ John Donne

broken-u-sTraveling from Bath, New York to Seaside, Oregon and back again, exploring many points on the map in between, our family had the opportunity to discover the diversity of the United States. The spectacular shifting landscape was a constant reminder that Americans enjoy a variety of terrain: prairie, grassland, mountains and coastline. As we made our way to our destination points, my wife and I frequently prompted our children to set aside their music and their reading, directing their attention to the passing scenery. While Yellowstone National Park’s geysers and hot springs, Mount Rushmore, and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis are alluring and obvious tourist attractions, the uncluttered, panoramic scenery that is America is equally stunning.

Our primary motivation for launching this partial tour of the United States was to visit friends and family from whom we have been separated for several years. However, the variety of people we met and the communities we passed by or visited along the way were as notable as the landscapes and the monuments of the country. Most of the people we encountered were friendly, making us feel welcome in their communities. There were also a small number of people who were quick to judge us because of where we were from, treating us rather offensively.

Part of what I tried to understand is that a bias preceded us based upon where we lived: New York State. At the same time, the oftentimes pervasive judgments hurt. We were trying to make friends across the country. We were trying to share a part of ourselves in the hopes that others would do likewise. Apparently, the social and political gaps that exist in our country are wide enough that bridging them is tricky.

In addition to those preconceptions we encountered, separating one community and one state from the next were billboards and other assorted signs that pronounced (or denounced) a particular faith, political party or leader. These public notices were not offensive, but they were suggestive in their proclamation that deviating from the given belief structure was inadvisable, or at least something to be kept hush-hush.

Coming into an election year, it occurred to me why we as a nation are so divided at the polls. What was evident from one part of the country to the next was the impression that each state or community was an island onto itself. Pride in ones self and in ones community is certainly commendable. I think we all have pride in where our respective families and cultures are rooted demographically and historically. The danger lies in cultivating a social environment rooted in self-importance.

Our nation has become one in which it is not enough to have the right to live as we want to live. We have become a nation in which many of us seek to stifle virtually any word, image or idea that is remotely opposing to a given vision of what may be defined as the truth. Political correctness has somehow become an expectation. Voicing new ideas or contrasting opinions has become at least something considered unethical, if not immoral or deviant.

I would like to think that our family has left those we met with a warm feeling and a positive impression of people that call New York State their home. We certainly enjoyed visiting the home states of others, finding that we have more in common than not with people across the country. Perhaps this election year, we may all benefit by focusing on those commonalities, without placing emphasis on what makes us different. We as a people are becoming too divided, and we are being diminished as a result.

Through Which Lenses Do You See This Small World?

by Shadra L. Bruce

ethicalrevolutionist_thelensthroughwhichyouseetheworldWhen I wake up each morning, I am blind until I grope for my glasses and get them on my face. Then everything sharpens into focus. In much the same manner, the way we look at the world around us is skewed by the lenses we wear to see it. If our lenses are colored with personal history, religion, or indoctrinated culture, it is impossible to see things clearly…we see them through thick lenses that skew reality.

None of us can be perfectly free from the skew of our personal lenses; we all have prejudice or bias. I have a very personal bias that I have a difficult time overcoming regarding Mormons. Personal experience has colored my perception; my father’s family is Mormon, but my father is not. He was at certain points in life quite vocal about his rejection of the faith, and my mother  even more so.

Then we moved to Idaho.

For those who believe Utah is the Mormon capital of the world, I truly believe that Idaho (at least in the 1980s when I was in school) was worse. The first question I was asked as a new and frightened 5th-grader at the elementary school I was enrolled in was, “What Ward are you in?”

I didn’t know what a Ward was, which of course made it clear that I was not Mormon. Being non-Mormon in Idaho in the ’80s was in many ways a hellish experience. Non-Mormons were often ostracized, not just by the students but by the Mormon teachers and counselors. We were a tiny minority.

My experience going to school in a predominantly Mormon society has colored my perspective. It’s a lens I have a difficult time shedding, even though many of my own Mormon family members have shown that it is not always that way. My uncle and my grandma are devout Mormons. My uncle has served as a Bishop and as a youth leader. He is strong in his faith, yet he never judges me or my family for our different beliefs; he welcomes us into his home; he treats my children with love.

Does my experience with Mormons color my view of Mitt Romney? I’m sure it does, and probably unfairly so. I wish I could peel off that particular lens to have a clearer view of the man and his potential as a leader. I am working to do that, and recognize in hindsight the many Mormon kids I went to school with who were nothing but kind and friendly.

But I also realize that the color of Obama’s skin has created a lens through which many see him as well, and I wish that they, too, could remove that lens and see him without it.

Our country, it seems, is confined by the lenses through which we see the world. None of us have been willing to look with open and clear eyes at the issues, recognize the need for compromise, and do what is best for the country as a whole. Whether liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, Christian or Muslim, or something else entirely, we all need to take a step back, remove our respective lenses and see the commonality among us. Regardless of our individual paradigms, we are all parents who care about our kids, kids who love our parents, sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles, and above all HUMAN BEINGS.

Disney has been warning us for decades: “It’s a SMALL world.” And the only way we’re going to get along in it is by making the choice to be not just tolerant of our differences but to embrace the diversity that makes all of us stronger.

We Shouldn’t Have To Buy Our Freedom

by Shadra L. Bruce

ethicalrevolutionist_buyfreedomThis country builds its values on freedom, but the only people who are free are the ones who give the “system” the finger and literally follow their own agenda. The only freedom we have as Americans is that we get to pick who tells us what to do. Let me explain.

The American dream: get an education, get married, buy a house, build a good career, have kids, buy toys, retire comfortably. And everything in this country is set up to support that dream, to funnel us as zombie-like slaves into corporate servitude, to encourage and enforce (and reinforce) reigning social values, by offering tax breaks for getting married and having kids, to entrap us with promises that if we just work hard enough, we too can be rich (all the while offering a mind numbingly below-par, over-priced education to ensure that we stay as sheep-like as possible).

What if you don’t want to live in the American rut? Everything – every law and societal attitude – attempts to force you into a lifestyle indistinguishable from anyone else’s: stay in one place, work at one job, and raise your kids to become the same mindless robots you become, kids who will ultimately believe in and reinforce the same system.

Imagine living in a society where the Earth is still appreciated, where people appreciate and respect each other, and where a person is truly free. People work to meet their needs and wants; that used to be about 8 hours a week. Now it’s 40-60, or more. We work, we eat, we sleep and we try to squeeze in a little fun.

Does that seem wrong to anyone else?

I think things really need to change. Peaceful revolution. Whether we evolve into small, self-sufficient, self-governing communities, or simply wipe the political slate clean and choose our representatives from among real people and not wealthy, out-of-touch imbeciles, I don’t know.

I understand why others look at Americans and think we are pigs. A good majority of us are greedy, gluttonous and hard-hearted; overweight, undereducated and lazy. We’re materialistic and demanding, and we all want something for nothing.

And it’s never our fault.

And yet, this is the only country where the potential for improvement is so possible. It has the POTENTIAL to be fantastic. I love being an American. The ideas America were based on are glorious. But politics corrupts men – hell, politics corrupts the Boy Scouts of America. And instead of a country of the people, for the people, and by the people, we have a country of political pigs getting rich off our growing poverty.

It disgusts me that in a country of freedom that touts itself as the greatest country in the world, children starve, people graduate from high school without being able to read and we can’t live peacefully with people of different cultures and beliefs.

How far down the wrong path are we willing to go before we make the effort to change? Who cares if children starve, if crime does pay, if politicians are greedy, lying, pigs? Most of us have it easy – and actually contribute to the greed with our materialistic demands – so why would we want it to change? Just don’t mess with our evening TV programming, OK?

Listen to your heart, your gut, and your brain – whatever part of your body you trust in an emergency. Listen to it. You should hear sadness, the lost soul, the warning that you’re on the wrong path. You feel the danger of doomsday (and not in any biblical sense).

Right now, we worry about the wrong things and don’t care about the important ones. Who cares who is having sex with whom? It doesn’t matter when we’re all going to get screwed by the government and by the freedom rhetoric. You want to be free? It IS possible.

You know what traps us all? Credit. Because we all want more than we can afford, we extend and overextend to the breaking point. On paper, we might look like the asset column is running ahead of the debt column, but it simply isn’t so. But there is comfort and security in the rut, and that’s why we’re stuck. Until enough people are willing to see past their own big screen TVs to see true reality, nothing will change.

Ethical Revolutionist’s Great Reads from Around the Web

er-great-readsWhen we’re not stirring up political controversy here, we’re raising enlightened individuals who are capable of thinking and questioning the status quo. We really do believe that our children are the future, and we’re raising them to believe in peace, acceptance, and coexistence without judgement. We also blog about parenting on MomsGetReal and DadsGetReal.

On MomsGetReal, we talk about things like raising kids with good self-esteem and celebrating individuality.

On DadsGetReal, David has been exploring how Bruce Springsteen is a mentor to dads by teaching social responsibility, and explored his changing feelings about Memorial Day in light of the pointless loss of life we’ve incurred in the last round of politically and religiously motivated war mongering.

We’ve written about education a number of times here, and our friend James was inspired to do the same over at Dissident Voice with a brilliant expose on the American Corp-University Complex.

We love Allen Clifton’s Right Off a Cliff, the putting-it-in-perspective Republicans for Obama, and of course, we are ardent supporters of the Occupy movement.

We hope you’ll take the time to explore some of these articles and let us know what you think. Do you have a blog or have you published an article you’d like us to share in a future Great Reads post? Do you know of a Great Read that should be featured here? Let us know!

Wall Street and Capitol Hill – Co-conspirators in the Death of Education

by David T. Bruce


student-loan-debt-1160848_1280More people than ever are going back to college, irrespective of age. While younger students are still the norm, students in their 20s and 30s as well as older students are headed back to campuses in record numbers.

The aspiration of many parents is that their children go to college, and these numbers suggest that students leaving high school, the military, and the like believe the message that a better education will equate to a better job with better pay. Older adults are doing likewise, seeking to improve their quality of life through education.

This is what our academic and government institutions have been selling us. 

The cost of obtaining this education, however, has created an economic burden for students and our society that will likely increase over time. Furthermore, the hope and the promise that a better future awaits for those who obtain a higher education is becoming nothing more than another disappointment for a working- and lower-middle-class society that wants to have a shot at economic success.

A report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggests that the student loan debt in the United States currently exceeds $1 trillion, a number that eclipses America’s credit card balance.

calloutThe data further shows that middle-age students are “the fastest growing group of borrowers.”  This seems to parallel the increase in middle-age adults returning to school to either improve their level of education or to retrain due to job loss.

Whereas determination and a good work ethic were once enough for a person to succeed, a piece of paper purchased from an accredited academic institution is now the only way for a person to have a chance of realizing the American dream that many of our ancestors achieved through hard work and fortitude.

Once an education would almost guarantee success in the upper-middle or upper class of society; now an education is almost mandated to enter into the middle class of society.  The alternative path is the retail industry.

Academic institutions have joined hands with corporate America and the federal government to ensure that this alternative path is the choice of many, whether or not students complete their education.

An Associated Press report cites that 53.6 percent of graduates under the age of 25 with Bachelor’s degrees are without a job or are underemployed.

The majority of American citizens play by the rules in terms of meeting the requirements for employment in their career, but colleges and universities court prospective students, seeking those that fit their preferred demographic, satisfy federal student-body quotas, and most importantly, generate revenue.

Like any big business in America, colleges and universities are now most concerned with making money and staying in business.

Education, at least as far as academic and corporate executives are concerned, is of minimal consequence. As far as our federal government is concerned . . . well, it is an election year, after all. Better to have a student body indebted to you than a student body in debt.

Both President Obama and the expected Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney agree that doubling of student loan interest rates would only increase student debt, without addressing the issue of un- and under-employment.  Romney is quoted as saying that “what young Americans want and need is a new president who will champion lasting and permanent policy changes that both address the rising cost of a college education and get our economy really growing again.”

Neither the President nor Romney have no idea what we want or need.

We don’t need another “champion.” We don’t need a cheerleader who proposes to know what life is like as a lower- or middle-class citizen in America. We need to assemble a group of elected officials who truly care about the education of their citizens, recognizing that it is the working class that ultimately drives the economy and not the practice of massaging numbers on Wall Street.

Our government seems to care only about the corporations (which colleges and universities are quickly becoming a fundamental part of) who fund their campaigns and ensure their ongoing political victories. These corporations want to make money, and they want a working class that will help them make their money.

An education is not necessarily required to stock shelves, wait tables, or sell inventory.  Colleges and universities will take your money, though, building your hopes of a better future, while corporations simultaneously eliminate job possibilities.

The left hand does indeed know what the right hand is doing, and they are choking the life out of America.

Museum of Unnatural History

by David T. Bruce

Festival of art
Grants to patrons granted
Penalty paid with interest
Refuse to play?
Don’t look the other way

Keep a watchful eye for phonies
Facts are rarely represented faithfully
Homogenized canvas
The broadest stroke is used
Statues erected as visions crumble
Readings are rhetorical
Scripted spontaneity

National museum of relics
Carbon copies, misprints
Words of mass destruction
Mementos engraved with dreams of futures past
Symbols now our laurels
We live in yesterday

We preach a fierce morality
While we dance around the truth
The art of diplomacy carves a monument of hypocrisy
Watercolor dreams for our youth
Washed away by pious despots
A country cunningly annihilated

for more of David’s poetry, you can read RAGE, available exclusively on Kindle and free to borrow for Prime members.

Insurance Companies Should Cover Deoderant & Soap – Santorum’s Platform Stinks

by David T. Bruce

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Image source: Pride Source, the publisher of Between the Lines

The latest threat to our individual rights this election year is a Republican presidential candidate presenting itself in the guise of Rick Santorum.  All of the candidates proffered to date have been those that quickly and soundly condemn the Obama administration for promoting a socialist agenda that strips Americans of their right to live without the menace of government intervention in terms of how much money we can make, how heavily (or not) we are taxed, and how we may spend our money (in other words, companies are people too).  These same candidates then offer a legislative laundry list of prohibitions that systematically target every behavior and vice considered being immoral or unethical, making them illegal.

The platform of the Republican Party in general is one that encourages less government involvement in healthcare; Mr. Santorum, however, encourages more government involvement when it is fitting with his belief system, advocating legislation that prohibits the use of contraceptives, that prohibits adultery and sodomy, and that prohibits abortions, even in the event of a rape.  Either you want government to be involved in the health of your citizens or you do not.  If you are involved, you should be so for the greater good and not for a personal rationale.

Oral contraceptives are shown to protect the health of woman, as past and current studies indicate that oral contraceptives can prevent ovarian and breast cancer.  This seems to be a valid, life-saving, cost-cutting, preventive form of medicinal therapy that insurance companies might benefit from in terms of dollars saved in the long run.  Do you seriously believe comparisons can be made between such a medicine and toothpaste and soap?  That is your argument?   The only reason that you can offer to prevent insurance companies from covering contraceptives is because it offends your moral sensibilities.  It is none of your business.

We do not hear you raising your voice against the support of insurance companies that cover the cost of Viagra.  Kenneth J. Smith, MD is quoted as saying that “I see Viagra use more as a health issue and a quality-of-life issue than as a lifestyle issue.”  Is the quality of life issue applicable to men only?  Not only is quality of life a valid concern for men and women, the overall health of women and cancer prevention is of higher concern.  We cannot avoid the issue of unwanted pregnancy either, as this too affects quality of life.

Again, what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes is no one’s business – not mine, not yours.  Does this mean that we promote incest, bigamy, or adultery?  Of course not.  Grow up, please.  This is not a high-school debate.  As we reach adulthood, we tend to be intelligent, responsible, and savvy enough to separate the good from the bad, recognizing the murky area that exists in between.  State and federal laws already exist to deter such behavior, and we do not need a puritanical zealot to tell us right from wrong.  The majority of Americans know right from wrong, and we are not your sheep.

Do not impose your moral and religious standards on all Americans.  We share this country; we share this world.  You obviously do not see the world in the same way as others.   Nor do others see the world in the same way as you.  Do not dare to assume that you can command power over the majority simply because you believe that you and a truly small minority enjoy some pious sense of morality that gives you domain over our existence and our right to exist as we see fit.

You talk in jest about mandates for insurance companies.  You want a mandate?  I move that we have a mandate that every person that pretends that they have a gift for leadership in America must spend some time living as a part of the society they deem to represent, so they have a clue to what it is like to have someone that is fortunate to have power and money dictate how their constituents should live their lives within legal parameters.

Mr. Santorum, you are a part of the same elite (please refer to the definition of “elite”) that you condemn President Obama of being a part.  You cannot see beyond your sanctimonious, narrow-minded view of how you think the world should be.  You perceive that your position of power and wealth give you an edge and give you the authority to condemn those of us who do not measure up to your moral convictions.

Good grief.  Who would have thought that the Republican Party could have come up with a presidential candidate that makes Mitt Romney look good?

Why College Is a Waste of Time and Money

The Fleecing of American College Students

by Shadra Bruce

When I was in high school in the late 80s, it was just beginning to be expected that college was more of a norm than getting a job straight away. The promise was tangible – get your degree, and you’ll definitely get a high paying job and be able to jump right in to living the American Dream.

The college recruiters came into the high schools and pedaled their wares like snake oil salesman:

College graduates make 62% more than their uneducated counterparts.”

“No need to worry about how to pay for college. Our financial aid department can help you get all the money you need to pay for college.”

“You get a six month grace period while you find a job!”

“Our career center places 90% of our graduates after graduation.”

Sound familiar?

So we swallowed the bait; a lot of us did. And if we started having kids, we have probably been feeding them the same line of crap we heard, grooming our kids to be prepared for college, not for life.

Our oldest joined the Army (a story for another day), but our second child headed straight to college, first to a community college, and now to a state university. She is attending Buffalo State College. It’s part of the SUNY system, what we feel is representative of a typical college. For each semester she attends, she pays

Tuition $2635
Athletic Fee – $133
Activity – $75
College Fee – $12.50
Health Fee – $130
Technology Fee – $160
Transportation Fee – $31
Books, which average $500 a semester
Meal plan $1,510
Housing $3,369

Her total semester cost: $8555.50

Yes, that’s right: in order to get $2600 worth of education, she has to pay almost $9000.

You see, colleges figured out (and perhaps drove) the fabulous racket that is student loans:

  • Loans cover the cost of tuition, books and related expenses, as well as room and board.
  • Poor people (the 99% of us who can’t make $10,000 casual bets) have been conditioned to see a college education as a way up and out.
  • Colleges profit by requiring students to live on campus and eat in dining halls

Our daughter pays far more for room and board ($4879) than for tuition and books ($3135).

What does she get for it? Her housing cost of $3,369 pays for a walk-in closet-sized room that she is required to share with another human being, often a stranger, in such close quarters that their feet nearly touch when they’re stretched out on their beds, in pods that house six students who all must share a bathroom with little to no control over who or how many house guests they have, how late or loud they are, or how much drinking or drug use happens.

Her housing cost includes her being kicked out of the dorm for five days over Thanksgiving (no choice) and being required to vacate for the six weeks of Christmas break (within 24 hours of the last final).

She is on campus a total of 106 days for the semester, so her housing costs her $31.78 per day – which would be $950 a month in the real world. And her closet-sized $950 a month room doesn’t even include the cost of Internet or a gym, as most thousand-dollar-a-month apartments with three times the space would.

She is required to also pay (whether she uses them or not) an athletic fee of $133 and a technology fee of $160.

But the real kicker is the food plan, which all on-campus college students except seniors are required to have. She has to pay $1,510 per semester to eat. That averages out to $14 per day, or $98 per week, for one person.

It’s downright criminal.  For $98 a week, she could feed a family of four at the grocery store!!

You would think it would be enough to get her through the semester, but the food plan only works at the college-provided dining hall. The average meal costs around $10; a small cup of oatmeal costs $1. Choices are limited, prices are high, quality is low…and the dining hall knows the kids are going to run out of money before the semester is over, pushing Mom and Dad to spend even more by adding money to their spending cards.

The students are locked into these meal plans and housing arrangements because they are a huge boon to the profits of the college or university, whose contracts with the vendors include kickbacks to the school or restrict the student’s spending to college-sanctioned locations.

It is so profitable for the colleges that many of them have gone from requiring just freshmen to live on campus to requiring all underclassmen to live on campus, locked into their private-world profit centers.  And it’s all funded by student loans, which kids willingly take with the promise of a brighter future.

To add insult to injury, the Federal government will not let you file bankruptcy on student loans, no matter how bad things get, and when you cannot afford to pay your loans (even for reasons such as no income or receiving public assistance), the student loan lenders have their own capitalized interest profit center going.

And as the latest unemployment numbers indicate, there are few jobs for all these kids the universities are pushing out the doors, yet the snake oil salesman are still coming to the high schools from the college campuses, promising a brighter future, while dumbing down education standards and admitting anyone with a pulse in order to fatten their coffers.

So as our own kids move through the public school system (we can’t afford anything else), we counter the brainwashing the school and society provides them about how important it is to go to college with our own advice:

            don’t go to college, don’t borrow from the government, don’t do anything but
            make it on your own merit, and don’t get yourself trapped in a college-bound,
            corporate track pursuit of this non-existent American dream.


Instead, we encourage them to be individuals and critical thinkers who are politically active and aware.  They can build their own dreams.