Dear Graduating Seniors:

There was a golden rule centuries before religious conquest and political dogma took over the world. Simply put, the Rede stated: “An it harm none, do what ye will.” This thought helped create an ancient mythology that those who lived close to the land didn’t harm the people or their surroundings because they knew what was needed to survive. The community cooperated and created an environment where everyone contributed and reaped the same rewards. Our ancient ancestors were smarter than what we believe of them. Sure, they didn’t have electronic communication, but somehow, they communicated with each other, got along, and survived, at least until the next hoard came along to take over. I would like to believe that they didn’t destroy everything for simple political gain and support to be re-elected. I would like to believe they were more accepting of each other and didn’t try to stop conversations because another tribe believed something different. Of course, there were wars for territory and property, just as it is currently, but once the dust settled, perhaps our ancestors listened to each other a little more and adapted innovative ideas that helped them survive. Perhaps the conquerors worked in harmony with the conquered and created a better society as a whole and accepted each other.

However, when the ruling class kept the spoils for themselves and enslaved others, classism began, and the ruling class engaged in both physical and mental wars to lord over the peasants, using thoughts and religious fervor as weapons. The psychological divide and conquer games became the new normal, and the world changed. There were no common goals. No one was safe. Ultimate power over others at the expense of life became the new normal. Money was the new religion. New regimes convinced people that ruling class ideas were much better and were the correct way of thinking, at the expense of free thought. Oppression became yet another new normal. People began to isolate in their communities, convincing themselves that they were staying out of it, and lived their lives in  a bubble, ignoring the next onslaught, sometimes at a great price. Civilizations shrank and grew, depending on the conquerors, and no one listened to each other. Fear dominated the world. No one spoke up or fought back, pretending that this was what was expected of them.

Today, the cycle has returned to divide and conquer. Those who have the most power and resources want to keep them at the expense of both the land and the people who make up the rest of the population. It is more important to be a powerful multi-billion-dollar corporation at the expense of everything else. Wordplay to get increasing media exposure is now vital for the ruling class to get people listening which will sway all others towards their belief systems. People are listening, but they are not responding. And, if they do respond, it is in anger, causing others to spiral downward into anger and depression. A vast majority feel that there is nothing they can do to make the world a better place.

Dissemination of misinformation has ruled the world, and the people with the most money and power are currently reigning supreme, having conveyed so many conspiracy theories as factual. The general population accepts these ridiculous ideas, because deep down there is something inside them that makes them afraid of the truth. Deep down, people know that they need to research for the facts in a context that is not biased. Unfortunately, good research takes time and thought so many will not always make the right choices. People want to believe what is told to them because the truth makes them uncomfortable. Physical and mental violence are becoming an accepted practice. If someone doesn’t want to have a dialogue that might change their minds, they get angry and lash out. Everyone is angry at each other all the time and it is exhausting! Discourse has left the playing field. No one is listening to diverse point of views without getting angry. Everyone is taking a side and not coming to any compromise. There is no middle ground. Uncomfortable conversations have become the quest to make changes in the world.

However, having said all of that, I acknowledge that there are so many injustices that have happened in our generation, but that does not mean we can’t move forward. My advice to all of you is simply this: 

Don’t disseminate misinformation even if you think it is a joke and your generation finds the humor in it. A vast majority of people want to believe in conspiracy theories. People will believe anything when they are afraid of change. Know in your hearts that these conspiracy theories on the internet aren’t real. Know that:

Birds are real.

Climate change is real.

Changes within an organization is real and can happen.

Respect is real and everyone should strive to gain it from each other.

Dissemination of hate is real and is a crime.

Replacement Theory is not real!

Further advice to you as upcoming responsible adults:

We all need to take personal responsibility for our actions and strive for goodness, not hate. Don’t hurt others in both thoughts and actions. Those who hurt others with their voices need to look inside and see why they do what they do and why it is important to them to point out others’ frailties and faults. Listening is a hard life skill to learn, but it will be the best tool in your toolbox. Go out there and make a difference. Make everyone’s life, including yours, a little better each day. You have an exceptionally large burden on your shoulders to make changes that will affect everyone’s futures. Reach deep into your hearts and go out in the world and make it better. Don’t blame the elders, just shake off any old hurts and slights and become a better elder. With higher learning and working to uncorrupt the system from within its very walls, you will help us all survive for another millennia. Remember that your parents may not always agree with you or your friends, but they do have a few answers for you if you ask them. You can believe in them if they are on a right and just path. They really do believe in you and will support you no matter how weird you think they are in their behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Be the calm person in the dialogue and just listen.

So, get going Seniors! Make things happen. Make changes. Remember the basics you’ve learned throughout your lifetime. Be kind, be beautiful, be fair, don’t spread mean rumors, and pick up the trash! (Don’t send photos of what you found on the ground in disgust of what others left behind. Just pick it up no matter who did it.) Have the respect to make your life and your neighborhood a beautiful place to live.

Congratulations Class of 2022!

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