Tag Archives: youth

Romney/Ryan Ticket Gains Support Amongst Young Americans

A recent Zogby poll has received a considerable amount of attention, which shows the new Republican ticket of Romney/Ryan pulling an impressive 41% of young voters between the ages of 18 to 29, while the Democratic ticket of Obama/Biden only pulled 49%. This is a considerable gain by Republicans, considering that during the 2008 election cycle, Obama/Biden won the vote of 66% of young voters.

Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican Vice President Candidate

A considerable amount of this surge amongst young voters for Romney can be attributed to his youthful running mate, whom is the first of his generation to make it onto a major party national ticket. But don’t stop at this single poll. A poll that received far less notice from the liberal PPP group came out with the exact same results: 41% of young voters said they supported Romney, while just 49% of young voters supported Obama/Biden. In this same survey, young voters disapproved of President Obama’s performance in office, 57% to 37%, and an astonishing 75% of those polled said they thought the country was heading into the ‘wrong direction’.

Generation Opportunity, a conservative group that reaches out to young conservatives and Americans alike, has recently reported that the unemployment rate among young people is substantially higher than the national average – 12.7% of young people are unemployed compared to the ‘mere’ 8.3% national average. Generation Opportunity also noted that 1.7 million young Americans aren’t even being counted in those statistics, because they have completely abandoned the workforce all together.

But are we even getting the whole story? What isn’t being reported about Obamanomics is that the majority of the job ‘growth’ is coming from part-time and temporary jobs, while unemployment of full-time workers continues to skyrocket. This makes it even harder on entry-level workers, most of which hold a college degree and are young Americans, as they are competing with people that have much experience in the workforce.

It has also been found that a majority of young Americans are cynical about Big Government social safety-net programs such as Social Security and Medicare, and rightly so. Young Americans realize that there isn’t much of a chance that those programs are going to be

around when they reach retirement, unless dramatic changes are made to the system. Some young people just accept their loss, but others are realizing that they are on the wrong side of massive debt, instability, and an ailing country.

With all of this being said, why does the Obama/Biden ticket still have the support of the majority of young Americans? It might have to do with the “happy, go-lucky” feel a young person gets when they are told if they share their wealth a little, it will decrease poverty. Maybe it’s because the American college system is infiltrated with liberalism and progressivism. But for any reason, this point in the election has marked a stark improvement for Republicans amongst the youth in America.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @chrisenloe

Power Of The Youth–Resistance 44

Our young adults will soon be carrying the heavy burden of government spending gone wild. Too often the youth are caught up in managing their day-to-day existence not realizing the danger just around the corner. Conservatives need to remind our young people that their livelihood will be impacted by current government policies.

We need them to become activists and help change the direction of our country. Groups like Resistance 44 are forming. Share this with your young friends. The future is now.

Young Professionals Say More Business Creation, Less Government Solves Unemployment

Generation opportunity

Generation opportunityWASHINGTON, May 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Generation Opportunity’s field team continued their grassroots organizing efforts in North Carolina at BusinessExpo 2012, presented by theGreater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and the Piedmont Triad Business Showcase, organized by theGreensboro Chamber of Commerce. More than 2,000 young professionals, entrepreneurs, and business leaders attended the event in Raleigh, where Generation Opportunity’s staff met with and listened to hundreds of young adults. In Greensboro, Generation Opportunity sponsored and participated in the region’s largest trade show.

“As a North Carolinian, I can tell you that young people are very concerned about the direction of the state and the country. High unemployment continues to take a toll on their lives, stands in the way of their plans for the future, and also impacts their families and friends,” said Jonathan Bandy, Regional Field Director for Generation Opportunity. “People know that the policies coming out of Washington are denying them opportunities to contribute and fulfill their dreams. It is a real source of pressure, and young people know that we in North Carolina, and across America, can do better – everywhere I go I meet folks that are enthusiastic about getting involved in our efforts.”

Young adults at both events identified record unemployment, the lack of economic opportunity, and high gas prices as the top issues they would most like to see addressed by elected officials. They also cited business expansion, not more government, as one of the most effective solutions to solving the lack of economic opportunity, indicating government spending and regulation is the greatest barrier to economic growth.

Generation Opportunity is continuing its efforts in the Tar Heel State, participating in the 17th annual Speed Street/600 Festival. The three-day event celebrates the May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and fills the streets of Uptown Charlotte with enthusiastic motor sports fans. Generation Opportunity is sponsoring an exhibit and field organizers will be on hand to engage young adults throughout the weekend. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend the Coca-Cola 600, the only 600-mile event in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The grassroots team has traveled across North Carolina to hear firsthand the personal stories of young adults seeking greater economic opportunity and access to meaningful, full-time jobs in their chosen career paths. Generation Opportunity has been meeting with young adults attending community colleges and universities, those who work in the trades and professions, young entrepreneurs, construction workers, veterans, and young parents who are concerned about the poor economy and the lack of jobs.

Generation Opportunity began its first major sweep through North Carolina in April, connecting with young adults at a wide variety of college and community venues including Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Jamestown,Greensboro, and Raleigh. The team visited the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, Central Piedmont Community College, Guilford Technical Community College, UNC Greensboro, Wake Technical Community College, UNC Charlotte, and NC State University. In addition to the campus visits, the team focused on outreach to young professionals at farmers markets and the “Earth Day Extravaganza” in downtown Raleigh, at the Women’s Small Business Expo in Charlotte, and also at the Cuegrass Festival in Raleigh.

Last fall, Generation Opportunity grassroots organizers met with and trained student leaders from High Point University, Campbell University, Gardner-Webb University, and Craven Community College at the 2011 American Student Government Association (ASGA) Conference.

Generation Opportunity commissioned a poll with the polling company, inc./WomanTrend (April 16 – 22, 2011, +/- 4% margin of error) and highlighted results for all young Americans ages 18-29 appears below:

Young Americans – American Energy Dependency is Top National and Economic Security Issue:

  • Greatest threats to national security: National Debt (62%), Energy Dependency (61%), and Indebtedness to Foreign Powers (50%).
  • 70% would increase production of domestic energy sources like oil, natural gas, and coal.

Young Americans – Delayed Dreams from a Poor Economy and the Lack of Opportunity:

  • 77% of young people ages 18-29 either have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to economic factors:
    • 44% delay buying a home;
    • 28% delay saving for retirement;
    • 27% delay paying off student loans or other debt;
    • 27% delay going back to school/getting more education or training;
    • 26% delay changing jobs/cities;
    • 23% delay starting a family;
    • 18% delay getting married.

Young Americans – Majority Disapprove of President Obama’s Management of Youth Unemployment, Washington Out-of-Touch:

  • Just 31% of 18 – 29 year-olds approve of President Obama’s handling of youth unemployment.
  • 69% say the current leadership in Washington fails to reflect the interests of the younger generation.
  • 59% of overall Millennials agree the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference.

Guest Photoessay: Obama Youth League Rises from Occupy Movement’s Ashes

Dana Milliband is a photojournalist and beat reporter for the New London Times. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Esquire, The New Republic, The Atlantic, and Coffee Drinkers Monthly.

The dilapidated shanty towns lovingly erected across America’s towering urban metropolises in protest of rampant Wall Street greed were until recently the sites of many a strident sit-in, raucous drum festival, and vigorous love-in. But the Coleman-covered encampments were not merely the makeshift assemblies of anti-capitalist contagion, they were the ramparts of a generation left out in the cold of free market madness.

Pacing the abandoned ghost towns, my footsteps crushing the discarded styrofoam containers, cast aside like so many broken dreams, I sought any signs that the weary youths were not hopelessly lost. Avoiding the excrement of their dashed expectations, I soldiered onward until there was the faintest sign of human activity ahead. Encircled around a rusted oil drum, some standing with their hands cupped over a blazing inferno, were a dozen youths of fiercely defiant visage. Unsheathing my Nikon D4, I set out to tell these broken warriors’ stories.

The air was chill, but not exceedingly so, as I cautiously approached Lynn, a Lesbian Rights Activist at New York University. One could tell from her skulking war cry, which she screeched out of nowhere, that she was in no mood to be trifled with. Red-dotted napkins littered the encampment, meaning the activists had either sacrificed a squirrel or the ladies were cycling together. Regardless, I plucked up the courage to strike a conversation with the young people, drawing on my sobering experience in the South American rain forests.

Lynn instantly calmed once I unwrapped a granola bar and slowly handed it to her as if we were making an illicit drug transaction (not that I would know anything about that). She was genial from that moment forward and warmed to the idea of interacting with the press. After giving her an extensive list of credentials, she agreed to let me photograph her and interview her for the article. The other brave souls agreed likewise.

The Occupy Movement, from all of their reports, was in a state of crisis. Lacking a clear set of goals or anyone who really cared about their non-negotiable demands, they decided to shift gears and become a political action committee: the Obama Youth League. Unfortunately, the Occupy movement had suffered from extremely unkind media coverage, and new recruits and donations were in short supply. The president didn’t even seem to want anything to do with them. The heart of the movement was all that remained, formed by a grizzled cadre of veterans who could spearhead a new campaign come spring.

Lynn passed an empty tuna can to Pat Walker, a transsexual anarchist from South Queens. Apparently, this was a way of signaling that it was someone else’s turn to talk.

The winds instantly picked up and peering over the skyscrapers, the overhead sky had faded from crystalline azure to bleached faded gray. Below me, a two-year old in a Che Guevarra T-shirt tugged at my khaki pants and was peering into my waste pack. Handing the boy a packet of peanut butter rice cakes, Pat instantly smacked my hands away.

“Don’t give my son any peanuts!” Pat exclaimed. “Miguel is extremely allergic to nuts and fish!”

“Oh, sorry!” I replied in shock, not knowing what such a fragile two-year old was doing out in the cold like this.

Picking up the package from the ground, which garnered a number of perplexed looks, I began to feel the cool drops of rain splashing on my neck. Forgetting where I was, and drawing sheerly on my maternal instinct, I casually offered for the gathering to come to my Manhattan apartment for a photo session. Shockingly, the entire band heartily agreed.

We took the train to my apartment. Of course, I had to pay for the excursion after the council convened and determined it was their right to free transportation. So be it.

Hopefully, this would be my insight into the inner workings of the Occupy Movement. What drives them. Their hopes, dreams, and their expectations for America’s future.

Upon entering my beautiful apartment, “Mike J.” unzipped his canvas rucksack and passed a glass bong to a tall preppy kid simply called “Jonesy.” A college girl named Sarah peeled off her hoody and threw it onto the floor.

“Woo-hoo!” she yelled. “Par-tay!”

“So…” I interjected in a loud voice, trying to get a hold of the Occupiers before some kind of crazy mob mentality took over. “Before we move into my studio, I want to hear some of those high ideals that motivate you as a movement.”

“Obama 2012!!” came a shout from behind me. “What-what!”

“Excuse me?” I asked, not understanding.

“Dude, we’re just trying to get Obama re-elected,” said a Crustafarian-looking kid in a faux-army T-shirt. “What else did you think this was about?”

“I don’t know. Principles…ideals,” I searched my memory for some of the platitudes I’d heard them shout early on in the movement. “Fairness?”

“Man, it’s all about free stuff,” said another kid. “Now shut up and toke a J.”

“No, I’m not going to toke a J!” I responded angrily. “Who gave you permission to smoke marijuana in here anyway?”

I snatched the cig from Jonesy’s hand and reluctantly took a hit.

“Can we just finish the photo shoot?” I exhaled after suck a hit in deep. “You guys can hit the showers… one at a time, of course… cause to be honest, yall are ripe.”

“Sure thing, dude,” Jonesy said. A couple of chicks were already rifling through my goth collection wardrobe. When they began making out, I wanted to tell them to stop. The words began to come out of my mouth but fell flat onto the floor like pebbles.

“Over here, big dawg!” I shouted, popping open a Lowenbrau from the fridge. “Check out my studio. Ain’t it pimp?”

“Man, it’s alright,” he said semi-impressed. “My dad’s a corporate attorney in New Jersey and one of his clients is Mick Tellsley. Went to his studio one time in Piscataway, and the man has some impressive chops.”

“THE Mick Tellsley?” I replied in awe. “Did you see his spread in Vogue covering Sundance?”

“Hell yeah, bro,” Jonesy replied. “April 2010, collector’s issue. Got it laminated and framed at my college pad.”

“Let me shoot you,” was all I could get out. “You’ve almost got fashion model good looks.”

“You really think so?” he asked rhetorically, smoothing back his hair.

Just then, a young lady dressed in retro Gothic attire exited the dressing room. She was marvelous. Hastily throwing together a canvass with Jonesy and Blaine, I put together my tripod and began snapping pictures.

Here was the soul of the Occupy Movement, not that emo-crap spread put out by Becky Weston of the Village Voice. Simply known as “Red,” she embodied everything one could want in a symbol of the future: doleful, dark, and depressing.

This was the Obama Youth League.

Next in my photoessay was Joan, a transplant from Anchorage State who was simply bored with life. She joined Occupy because she liked people, Obama, and drugs.

After telling me her life story, she disappeared to the dressing room and emerged looking like a goth angel. This was no longer about a political movement, but the spirit of America.

“Give me nonchalant!” I yelled enthusiastically. “Now, disillusioned!”

The shoot kept getting better and better. Inspiration was dripping off the photographs.

Moved by the experience, and possibly the cannabis vapors lingering in the air, I felt like joining these Young Turks protesting the system through their rebellious calls for bigger government and support of America’s historic president. Why not rally for free college tuition? Free healthcare? Free… whatever? The only thing holding us back is our imagination.

Finishing the shoot with Blaine, a friend of Jonesy’s, I was satisfied that I had captured the full spectrum of the Occupy Movement and it’s burgeoning Obama Youth League. I felt that these faces would serve the president well in his bid for a second term.

Author’s note: The above is satire. It is a fictionalized account intended to elucidate certain ideas and principles by taking them to absurd lengths. It is not intended to be taken literally.

Kyle Becker blogs at RogueGovernment, and can be followed on Twitter as @RogueOperator1. He writes freelance for several publications, including American Thinker, and is a regular commentator on the late night talk show TB-TV.

Guest Photoessay: Obama Youth League Rises from Occupy Movement's Ashes

Dana Milliband is a photojournalist and beat reporter for the New London Times. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Esquire, The New Republic, The Atlantic, and Coffee Drinkers Monthly.

The dilapidated shanty towns lovingly erected across America’s towering urban metropolises in protest of rampant Wall Street greed were until recently the sites of many a strident sit-in, raucous drum festival, and vigorous love-in. But the Coleman-covered encampments were not merely the makeshift assemblies of anti-capitalist contagion, they were the ramparts of a generation left out in the cold of free market madness.

Pacing the abandoned ghost towns, my footsteps crushing the discarded styrofoam containers, cast aside like so many broken dreams, I sought any signs that the weary youths were not hopelessly lost. Avoiding the excrement of their dashed expectations, I soldiered onward until there was the faintest sign of human activity ahead. Encircled around a rusted oil drum, some standing with their hands cupped over a blazing inferno, were a dozen youths of fiercely defiant visage. Unsheathing my Nikon D4, I set out to tell these broken warriors’ stories.

The air was chill, but not exceedingly so, as I cautiously approached Lynn, a Lesbian Rights Activist at New York University. One could tell from her skulking war cry, which she screeched out of nowhere, that she was in no mood to be trifled with. Red-dotted napkins littered the encampment, meaning the activists had either sacrificed a squirrel or the ladies were cycling together. Regardless, I plucked up the courage to strike a conversation with the young people, drawing on my sobering experience in the South American rain forests.

Lynn instantly calmed once I unwrapped a granola bar and slowly handed it to her as if we were making an illicit drug transaction (not that I would know anything about that). She was genial from that moment forward and warmed to the idea of interacting with the press. After giving her an extensive list of credentials, she agreed to let me photograph her and interview her for the article. The other brave souls agreed likewise.

The Occupy Movement, from all of their reports, was in a state of crisis. Lacking a clear set of goals or anyone who really cared about their non-negotiable demands, they decided to shift gears and become a political action committee: the Obama Youth League. Unfortunately, the Occupy movement had suffered from extremely unkind media coverage, and new recruits and donations were in short supply. The president didn’t even seem to want anything to do with them. The heart of the movement was all that remained, formed by a grizzled cadre of veterans who could spearhead a new campaign come spring.

Lynn passed an empty tuna can to Pat Walker, a transsexual anarchist from South Queens. Apparently, this was a way of signaling that it was someone else’s turn to talk.

The winds instantly picked up and peering over the skyscrapers, the overhead sky had faded from crystalline azure to bleached faded gray. Below me, a two-year old in a Che Guevarra T-shirt tugged at my khaki pants and was peering into my waste pack. Handing the boy a packet of peanut butter rice cakes, Pat instantly smacked my hands away.

“Don’t give my son any peanuts!” Pat exclaimed. “Miguel is extremely allergic to nuts and fish!”

“Oh, sorry!” I replied in shock, not knowing what such a fragile two-year old was doing out in the cold like this.

Picking up the package from the ground, which garnered a number of perplexed looks, I began to feel the cool drops of rain splashing on my neck. Forgetting where I was, and drawing sheerly on my maternal instinct, I casually offered for the gathering to come to my Manhattan apartment for a photo session. Shockingly, the entire band heartily agreed.

We took the train to my apartment. Of course, I had to pay for the excursion after the council convened and determined it was their right to free transportation. So be it.

Hopefully, this would be my insight into the inner workings of the Occupy Movement. What drives them. Their hopes, dreams, and their expectations for America’s future.

Upon entering my beautiful apartment, “Mike J.” unzipped his canvas rucksack and passed a glass bong to a tall preppy kid simply called “Jonesy.” A college girl named Sarah peeled off her hoody and threw it onto the floor.

“Woo-hoo!” she yelled. “Par-tay!”

“So…” I interjected in a loud voice, trying to get a hold of the Occupiers before some kind of crazy mob mentality took over. “Before we move into my studio, I want to hear some of those high ideals that motivate you as a movement.”

“Obama 2012!!” came a shout from behind me. “What-what!”

“Excuse me?” I asked, not understanding.

“Dude, we’re just trying to get Obama re-elected,” said a Crustafarian-looking kid in a faux-army T-shirt. “What else did you think this was about?”

“I don’t know. Principles…ideals,” I searched my memory for some of the platitudes I’d heard them shout early on in the movement. “Fairness?”

“Man, it’s all about free stuff,” said another kid. “Now shut up and toke a J.”

“No, I’m not going to toke a J!” I responded angrily. “Who gave you permission to smoke marijuana in here anyway?”

I snatched the cig from Jonesy’s hand and reluctantly took a hit.

“Can we just finish the photo shoot?” I exhaled after suck a hit in deep. “You guys can hit the showers… one at a time, of course… cause to be honest, yall are ripe.”

“Sure thing, dude,” Jonesy said. A couple of chicks were already rifling through my goth collection wardrobe. When they began making out, I wanted to tell them to stop. The words began to come out of my mouth but fell flat onto the floor like pebbles.

“Over here, big dawg!” I shouted, popping open a Lowenbrau from the fridge. “Check out my studio. Ain’t it pimp?”

“Man, it’s alright,” he said semi-impressed. “My dad’s a corporate attorney in New Jersey and one of his clients is Mick Tellsley. Went to his studio one time in Piscataway, and the man has some impressive chops.”

“THE Mick Tellsley?” I replied in awe. “Did you see his spread in Vogue covering Sundance?”

“Hell yeah, bro,” Jonesy replied. “April 2010, collector’s issue. Got it laminated and framed at my college pad.”

“Let me shoot you,” was all I could get out. “You’ve almost got fashion model good looks.”

“You really think so?” he asked rhetorically, smoothing back his hair.

Just then, a young lady dressed in retro Gothic attire exited the dressing room. She was marvelous. Hastily throwing together a canvass with Jonesy and Blaine, I put together my tripod and began snapping pictures.

Here was the soul of the Occupy Movement, not that emo-crap spread put out by Becky Weston of the Village Voice. Simply known as “Red,” she embodied everything one could want in a symbol of the future: doleful, dark, and depressing.

This was the Obama Youth League.

Next in my photoessay was Joan, a transplant from Anchorage State who was simply bored with life. She joined Occupy because she liked people, Obama, and drugs.

After telling me her life story, she disappeared to the dressing room and emerged looking like a goth angel. This was no longer about a political movement, but the spirit of America.

“Give me nonchalant!” I yelled enthusiastically. “Now, disillusioned!”

The shoot kept getting better and better. Inspiration was dripping off the photographs.

Moved by the experience, and possibly the cannabis vapors lingering in the air, I felt like joining these Young Turks protesting the system through their rebellious calls for bigger government and support of America’s historic president. Why not rally for free college tuition? Free healthcare? Free… whatever? The only thing holding us back is our imagination.

Finishing the shoot with Blaine, a friend of Jonesy’s, I was satisfied that I had captured the full spectrum of the Occupy Movement and it’s burgeoning Obama Youth League. I felt that these faces would serve the president well in his bid for a second term.

Author’s note: The above is satire. It is a fictionalized account intended to elucidate certain ideas and principles by taking them to absurd lengths. It is not intended to be taken literally.

Kyle Becker blogs at RogueGovernment, and can be followed on Twitter as @RogueOperator1. He writes freelance for several publications, including American Thinker, and is a regular commentator on the late night talk show TB-TV.

Dominic and the Lost Conservative

Amid the fun and optimism of the Ronald Reagan dinner at this past weekend’s “Defending the American Dream” Summit, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, came a gathering of the “Occupy D.C.’ movement that congregated outside the Washington Convention Center Friday night.  Conference goers looked down at the crowd with the same curiosity one would have at watching a caged animal at the zoo.  As most of the protesters averaged an age in the early twenties, the AFP participants averaged, well… older.  Thus fulfilling the old Churchillian axiom of, “If you are 20 and not a liberal, you have no heart and if you are 40 and not a conservative, you have no brain.”

 

With the onset of one’s third decade comes energy and passion on a grand scale.  That passion is ignited with meteoric intensity when one’s worldview goes from the sandbox to the planet as a whole. Much more so is that hunger amplified when they witness a world suffering in real time on YouTube or the 24-hour news cycle.

 

Each new generation decries the injustices of the world; each older generation replies firmly, “ehhhh shut-up!!”, for it takes a generation who has had their idealology collide with reality to properly put the young bucks in their place; not just because they can, but because it is the right thing to do.

 

Cue the protesters.  Being the middle aged chap I am and having had my endurance sneak off into the night some time ago, I was ready to call it a night at the conclusion of the dinner (around 9:00).  So, I headed out of the convention hall in a circular pattern to avoid the bulk of the “peaceful assembly” and promptly got lost (those who know be best will not be shocked by this). After the usual period of exercising my masculine pride, I finally decided to ask someone for directions.  As it turned out, I had wandered my way back to the edge of the convention center and, as it was, next to the ODC folks.  I met eyes with one of the least “unusual” of the crowd and asked him for directions.  I don’t know if it was because I came from the opposite direction or that I usually dress at the low end of the acceptable fashion totem pole and probably didn’t resemble the stereotypical “evil, rich conservative”, he freely engaged me in conversation.

 

After setting my compass back to true north, he invited me to join the protest.  I had removed my rank insignia as a junior officer in the conservative army, feigned ignorance and asked him to explain why they were there.

 

He introduced himself as Dominic, a young fair-skinned man who I surmised was in his early twenties, and proceeded to tell me of the purpose of their assembly.  To my surprise, he calmly, yet energetically explained why he believed they were there, sans any screaming, yelling or the usual vitriol one sees on the news (or later at this gathering).  He proclaimed his interpretation of the injustice of the tyranny of the elite 1% over the masses.

 

At this point, I could have launched into my usual debate mode and, of course, would have won decisively on points, but by this time, I wanted to track his logic (or lack thereof). It was clear that he was not the “typical” OWS type, full of rage against the machine, but with no clear target – in other words, “Ready, FIRE…. Aim.”

 

Dominic proceeded to lay out his argument for equality and justice, clearly coming from a desire to see the world a better place and, as misguided and misinformed as it was, it was still pure.  I would query from time to time as to the unrealistic nature of his argument – that there could actually be a 1% versus 99% reality in a democratic republic.  When I asked why there should not be a huge majority of 99%ers in both houses, he couldn’t really proffer an effective responsible.

 

Suppressing my human instinct to yell, “a HA!’ and commence a victory dance, I continued to ask questions that challenged his positions.  Some of his responses were typical programming, while some would actually make sense, at least on paper.  Yet all of them stemmed from that youthful enthusiasm all of us have experienced at that age.

 

After a few more minutes of discussion, we parted ways amicably, without a voice being raised or personal insults hurled.  It was a debate, not a confrontation.  I could clearly see that Dominic was not the stereotypical “Occupy _____” protester as all during our conversation, a gaggle of less mature folks gathered at the convention entrance, hurling insults and epithets toward people they had never met (and eventually became violent).

 

Neither Dominic nor I “won” an argument that night, because we didn’t engage in one.  We had a discussion; at most, a debate.  Perhaps seeds of both wisdom and youthful energy were sown – I more than likely will never really know because I will probably never see his like again.  I’m pretty sure he will never see this article, at least on this site, but then again, 20 years is not so long a time.

 

As I walked to my Metro stop, I realized I had experienced what has become a rarity in our modern, post-Jerry Springer society – a civil conversation.  And while the Earth didn’t spin off its axis or miraculously heal itself, we both will reap dividends far beyond the obvious and immediate.  What I realized is that we were both doing our jobs.  His was to bark at the moon and mine was to teach him how, where and when to effectively do so.  Dominic is on the other side of the idealogical aisle from me, but that does not make him my enemy.  At worst, he is a worthy opponent; at least he is a member of the field “white for the harvest.”

 

It will be the Dominics of the world that will hopefully have a Damascus road experience and simply turn their passion loose on what works best.  He and his kind will rise above the base emotions, combining heart and head to help a fragile world realize its potential.

 

Our job is to find the Dominics, separate them from the herd and raise them up in the way of generations past.  The worst thing we can do is to leave them alone or try to destroy their zeal.  The best thing we can do is redirect it.

Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas Receives Contribution to Support JA's What a Difference a Day Makes Initiative

State Farm® Youth Advisory Board grants $100,000

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT OF SOUTHEAST TEXAS LOGO / Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas. (PRNewsFoto/Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas)HOUSTON, Aug. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The State Farm Youth Advisory Board announced that Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas will receive a $100,000 service-learning grant for JA’s What a Difference a Day Makes initiative, a financial literacy service-learning project.

Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas is one of 64 community organizations to receive a youth-led service-learning grant across the United States and Canada.

“This hands-on service-learning project builds relationships between high schools and elementary schools within a specific community while providing high school students with the opportunity to learn the value of service  and developing skills as presenters, facilitators and leaders at the same time,” said Rick Franke, president, JA of Southeast Texas. “Financial literacy is a critical life skill for everyone, with something to learn at every age, but research shows that many students don’t understand the basic principles of personal finance, and this effort can have an impact on the student’s future success.”

The State Farm Youth Advisory Board has granted over $20.7 million in grant money since its inception in 2006, empowering youth to implement service-learning in 331 communities.

Additionally, applications are available for interested, passionate youth aged 17-20 to become a Youth Advisory Board member.  More information can be found at www.statefarmyab.com.  Applications must be submitted online by October 3

About Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas: Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas is the greaterHouston area’s largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network of 12,000 adult role models, JA of Southeast Texas provides in-school and after-school programs for students in grades K-12 which focus on entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. Today, JA of Southeast Texas reaches 231,000 students in nearly 900 schools.  For more information, visit www.jahouston.org.

About the Youth Advisory Board: The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of 30 youth, ages 17-20, who were chosen through a competitive process to lead and oversee this $5 million/year signature service-learning initiative. The Youth Advisory Board identified the issues, issued competitive grants and will now provide technical assistance, communication and oversight to grantees.

Kevin R Hattery, 713.682.4500, ext 231, [email protected]

SOURCE Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas

Web Site: http://houston.ja.org

A Completely Different Perspective

I wanted to offer a different perspective on last night’s GOP debate. First, however, I need to make a confession. I didn’t actually watch the debates last night (I did this morning, Tivo is a wonderful thing). Instead, last night I spent over five hours in a movie theater watching what has come to be known as the Summer Music Games. Drum Corps International, a youth music organization, has sponsored an activity for the past 40 years that involves wind, percussion and visual musicians in a summer of rigorous rehearsals and competitions. This tour comes to a climax in the second week of August in Indianapolis, Indiana at the DCI World Championships.

For those who are not familiar with this activity, it would be like watching your favorite marching band with your finger on the fast-forward button. Only instead of playing an entertaining half-time show, “The Best of the Beatles”, they play everything from Beethoven to Stan Kenton to Metallica, all the while marching at breakneck tempos of 160 and above for almost 11:30 minutes. With eight judges watching your every move, analyzing your step size, angle, interval and distance, all the while listening to your tone quality, intonation, rhythm accuracy, articulation uniformity, attacks, releases, balance and blend, your heart races as you realize you have just stepped in to an arena where 35,000 people are watching your every move. Championships are often decided by five one-hundredths of a point.

So why am I bringing this up and what does this have to do with the Republican debate? Perhaps I should answer by telling you what the definition of the target fixation is. That is when a fighter pilot becomes so obsessed that he runs right into the back of his target. I’ll get back to this.

These individual corps are made up of 150 musicians from ages 14 to 21. They spent a good part of their winters and springs and their entire summers rehearsing one 11:30 show. Their objective is simply this: perfection. They will practice an entire day in the blazing sun just to improve by 2/10 of a point from the previous night. But on the second Saturday of August each year, the 12 best units compete against each other for the World Championships. One has to see and experience this in order to truly understand it. They have sacrificed weeks of hanging out with their buddies, sitting on a couch, or holding down a part-time job, to pay hundreds of dollars for the opportunity to sleep on buses and gym floors and traveled tens of thousands of miles in the blazing heat for a chance to perform that Saturday night. Of the over 150 competing units, only 12 will make the final cut and only one will be crowned DCI World Champion.

Have we become so fixated on our target as conservatives that we have forgotten why we are fighting? When we see the complete lunacy that has gripped the country of England and we witness human stupidity in its greatest form, do we lose sight of the fact that there still is a generation of American youth that relentlessly pursues excellence?

Last night, I not only witnessed that pursuit, but I also relived it. You see, that was me back in the summer of 1989. It’s when I learned to dig down deep inside me and pull out more of God’s talents and contribute them to a cause greater than myself – all for a measly 2/10 of a point. Twenty-two years later, I realize that the harvest from that experience went far beyond a score on some sheet of paper. I learned the priceless lesson of excellence – to do my best today, go to bed satisfied and wake up expecting to do better. It is a lesson that few, even in our country, have fully embraced, so when I see events like these, showcasing that lesson in full application, I rejoice.

Contrast this with these punks (yes I said punks) in England who feel justified in tearing down the achievements of others because they have failed to do what it takes to succeed on their own. And while our politicians slug it out over policies and the direction of the country, we should be comforted in the fact that there still is a small group of young people who are willing to give all in the relentless pursuit of excellence. It makes our cause even that much more just, because we now know that there is a generation worth fighting the good fight for.