Millennials in the media: 09/07/15

How most employers view Millennials. Source: Huffington Post

Wow! What a great week for Millennials!

Thanks to Forbes, I learned there’s a formula to get me motivated in the workplace (because being unemployed for months didn’t do the trick). Although “Millennials are different in a number of ways. . . [they] aren’t as different as many people think. . . [but] one-size-does-not-fit-all when it comes to training the next generation.”  For a moment there, I think they recognized that I’m a human being with individual traits or something.

Future employers aren’t alone; presidential hopefuls are trying to motivate me too. Although I prefer Hillary over Republican candidates, she made it awkward by thanking me for my vote in 2008. I could mull over my options by engaging in political discussion with my friends, but the New York Post reminded me that I don’t know how to have those – friends, that is.

I also learned that my credit sucks. My attempts to apply for a credit card are more likely to be denied, thereby lowering my FICO score even further. As a result, I’ve joined the 31 percent of my generation that has denounced credit cards altogether.

The good news? I don’t need good credit to apply for student loans! The bad news? My own debt is going to put me so far behind in life, I might not be able to help my kids pay for college. According to a research study by College Board, “Millennial parents will pay an average of $100,907.61 – not accounting for inflation– to send their children to a public college for four years, and that is without room and board, books or other costs.”

Maybe I should skirt around the social responsibility of furthering the species by becoming a nun. . . I would make one hell of a Catholic school teacher. After all, I am more likely than any other age group to be vexed by spelling and grammar errors. It looks like all of that texting has come in handy after all.

Despite all of this great news, the latest survey conducted by the Pew Research Center has me at a loss. For some reason, only 40 percent of people age 18-34 choose to identify as Millennials. Furthermore, I am more likely than any other generation to describe my peers as self-absorbed, wasteful, greedy, and cynical; older generations prefer the terms patriotic, responsible, hard-working, and willing to sacrifice when describing themselves.

The media savored the opportunity to point out how much I suck:

A majority of millennials don’t think they are millennials

Study Says Millennials Really, Really Hate Being Called Millennials

Millennials Sure Do Hate Other Millennials, According To Pew Survey

Millennials Are Pretty Terrible, According To A Poll Of Millennials

Show a little bit of pride, millennial generation

Interestingly, there were no headlines telling the Silent Generation to stop being posers – only 18 percent identified with their label, while 34 percent preferred to be called Baby Boomers and another 34 percent preferred to be a part of the Greatest Generation.

First, let’s ignore some of Pew’s methodology. I’m sure there’s a reason they surveyed twice more Baby Boomers than any other age group. I’m sure the researchers understood that descriptors such as responsible, hard-working, and willing to sacrifice typically increase with age, while being self-absorbed, wasteful, and greedy typically decrease with age (families and mortgages tend to have those effects). I’m sure their age markers are statistically sound, although more “Millennials” age 27-34 identify as Gen X-ers.

Pesky logistics aside, why am I so self-deprecating?

Maybe I’m less narcissistic than my older counterparts? Maybe just a little more self-aware? Maybe I don’t want to be represented by gaudy VMA headliners like Miley, Nicki, and, (I guess) Kanye? Maybe – just maybe – I’ve begun to internalize all of the negative connotations that come with being a Millennial, since I am repeatedly scapegoated for my predecessor’s problems.

Pew, what’s good?

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An open letter to Kim Davis

This is an open letter to Kim Davis, the Clerk of Court for Rowan County, KY who is refusing to administer marriage licenses to same-sex couples due to “God’s authority.”

Dear Mrs. Davis,

Growing up, my mother always told me to keep to my mouth shut when it comes to religion and politics. What a coincidence – neither of us listened to her.

When you were elected Clerk of Court in November, I’m sure you had no idea that your actions would stir up nationwide controversy. I cannot imagine the media firestorm that you and your family are currently enduring.

I am not writing this to criticize your religious beliefs. I won’t toss around Bible verses or try to disprove what you keep closest to your conscience. I understand that we have different worldviews, and I respect your commitment to a concept of faith that I’ve never been able to grasp myself.

You see, I’m not a particularly religious person. A long time ago, I decided that I wanted to devote my spiritual energy to something bigger than myself, smaller than my doubts, and undeniably tangible: other people. In that sense, I think you and I share some common ground. As an elected official, you chose to place your faith in others, just as they have chosen to place their faith in you.

In fact, Mrs. Davis, you’ve stated all of this in your own words: “I was elected by the people to serve as County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.”

Allow me to help.

Many Americans share the belief that there is only one definition of marriage. This is a misconception.

There are two definitions of marriage: a religious definition and a legal definition. Although they bear the same title, they are vastly different concepts.

What is the religious definition of marriage? I am nowhere near qualified to give you that answer. To some, it is a bond between a man and a woman; to others, elements such as love, trust, or even chastity are required. Ultimately, you must confer with your clergy, your church, and your God to deem what you believe is the appropriate explanation of holy matrimony.

What is the legal definition of marriage? I could put forth volumes of case law and statutes, but that would be a waste of your time. In short, it is whatever the states, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution deem that the public will recognize as the appropriate explanation of civil union.

What does a legal marriage entail? Tax benefits that come with joint filing. Government services, such as programs for military veterans and their spouses. Benefits tied to employment, including insurance coverage and family leave. Emergency medical and bereavement rights. The list goes on and on. . . and none of these items are religious.

Mrs. Davis, as a married woman, you are granted access to these privileges every day. By denying same-sex couples marriage licenses, you are only refusing them the legal definition of marriage – because the religious definition is between those individuals and their clergy, their church, and their God.

That is why each marriage license must be solemnized by an ordained minister – this can be a pastor, a priest, a judge, or that co-worker who earned his credentials online from the Universal Life Church. Their role is to affirm the religious (or irreligious) portion of the marriage. Conversely, your role is to affirm the legal portion of the marriage.

When you took the Kentucky Oath of Officers, you stated: “I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States. . . and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of County Clerk according to law.” There was a bit in there about declining to fight duels with deadly weapons, too. The oath hasn’t been updated since 1891, go figure.

The law, on the other hand, has been updated in 2015. In his Opinion of the Court for Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “The issue before the Court here is the legal question whether the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry. . . The Constitution grants them that right.”

As a public servant, you are obligated to uphold the Constitution and represent everyone within your jurisdiction. You do not have the right to decide to whom the laws apply.

When I visited the website for the Rowan County Clerk of Court, I couldn’t help but notice Kentucky’s state seal sitting in the right-hand corner. It displays two men shaking hands, enveloped by the words “United we stand, divided we fall.”

Please remember this motto the next time you are the arbiter of division.

If indeed there is a next time.

Sincerely,

Sarah Massey

4 things nobody is saying about Bernie Sanders

The independent senator from Vermont garnered national recognition over the summer, polling just 7 percentage points behind Hillary Clinton in the Iowa Caucus. His populist platform resonates with young adults in particular, who plaster his image all over websites such as Tumblr and Reddit.

Source: reddit

As an independent, I support many of the tenets he champions. I admire his decision to refuse campaign contributions from Super PACs. I even have a soft spot for his punny “Feel the Bern” merchandising.

Nevertheless, I’m surprised he hasn’t been reviewed with a more critical eye. If you’re itching to vote for Bernie Sanders in 2016, consider these factors first.

  1. We’ve seen his strategy before – with lackluster results.

Hello, Bernie? 2008 Barack Obama called, he wants his campaign back.

Obama’s promises of “hope” and “change” were perhaps the most memorable messages of the 2008 election. Although the strategy was potent enough to secure his nomination, many Americans found those promises to be empty over the next four years.

Is Sanders falling into the same trap? So far, his platform offers similarly lofty expectations that fail to be supplemented by legitimate policy proposals. This is a proven recipe for nationwide dissatisfaction.

The election cycle is still young, but it would be a shame for history to repeat itself so soon.

  1. He is an independent running for the Democratic ticket.

There are two views on this bold move: A) It is a contradiction that goes against the spirit of identifying as an independent, or B) it is a necessary means of fighting the D.C. political machine, beginning by manipulating it from the inside.

It will be up to voters to decide where they stand.

Sanders seems to think the former, stating, “[There is] profound anger at both political parties, more and more people are becoming independent, the negative is, how do you set up a 50-state infrastructure as an independent?”

He would know, considering he’s the longest-serving independent in congressional history. Speaking of which. . .

  1. He is a career politician.

Sanders has spent over two thirds of his adult life as an elected official. In his 34 years of service to the state of Vermont, he has been a mayor, a House member, and a senator. Previously, he made four unsuccessful runs for office (twice for governor and twice for the senate).

In fact, his background is quite similar to his Democratic challengers, both notorious career politicians.

Source: POLITICANA

The entire presidential election so far has been characterized by anti-establishment themes and candidates. Is Sanders too political for his populist platform?

  1. . . .and what has he accomplished?

Honestly, not much.

During his 24 years in Congress, Sanders has sponsored 354 bills. Of those, three were signed into law and two were agreed to as simple resolutions.

Again, allow us to compare these numbers to his current competition.

Source: POLITICANA, govtrack.us

These numbers are slightly lower than Clinton’s (despite the fact that she only served in the Senate for eight years), and starkly contrasted to Biden’s.

Unfortunately, the quality of his legislation doesn’t make up for the lack of quantity. One of his laws offers additional compensation for disabled veterans (yay!). However, his other two laws simply erected a singular post office building each (meh).


What do you think?

Will Sanders be able to deliver on his campaign promises? Are you bothered that he’s running for the Democratic nomination, despite being a self-proclaimed independent? Is he like other career politicians? Has he been successful enough to justify his tenure in office?

Are you still “Feeling the Bern”?

Trump: 15 minutes of front-running?

Don't look so glum, Donald. Source: One America News Network.On Friday night, Sarah Palin interviewed Republican front-runner Donald Trump – a match that could only be made more conservative by resurrecting the father of Reaganomics himself.

The segment aired on One America News (OAN), a small network with limited reach via cable providers. Furthermore, the network’s website crashed due to high demand several hours before the interview was scheduled to begin.

It sounds like the exclusive “interview of the year,” right? Wrong.

Palin addressed Trump as a martyr for conservatism, lauding his “sacrifice to hit the campaign trail.” Although she addressed the real estate mogul’s recent snafus with the “idiots in the media,” she failed to ask him any “gotcha” questions herself.

Instead, the interview was peppered with inaccurate statistics and political aphorisms.  Both individuals spouted off numbers that were as inflated as their egos; unemployment is nowhere near 93 million, and Trump’s overall polling percentage is almost a third less than the 41 percent Palin claimed. After ten minutes of sound bites about taxes, veterans, and the Bible, political pundits everywhere were likely feeling underwhelmed.

The media response to the highly anticipated interview was lukewarm, if not laughable – and rightfully so. Trump milks the press as a form of free advertising. He makes bold, and often times offensive statements that no serious politician would dare to utter. Trump is living, breathing click-bait. After all, bad publicity is better than none at all.

However, I predict that the reign of the “Trumpeters” and “Trumpservatives” will be short-lived. As the general public grows tired of his distasteful exploitation tactics, the media will cease covering them.

Consider the 2012 presidential election. At this point in the election cycle (August 27, 2011), Rick Perry was the leader of the polls by 2.5 percent. Exactly two months later, the top spot was occupied by Herman Cain, former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. By December 27th, Newt Gingrinch was ahead by 2.8 polling points. Rick Santorum was leading by 3.3 points two months after that.

Despite the front-runners who came and went like contestants on The Price is Right, who was consistently in second place? Mitt Romney, who ultimately won the GOP ticket by a landslide of 52.8 percent – a whopping 33.8 points more than his nearest competitor.

For now, I’m not worried about the land of the free and the home of the brave being run by a reality television host. In fact, I’m rather enjoying the show.

Millennials according to the media

Source: Flickr via Colleen Simon for opensource.com

I am a Millennial. I was born in 1995 – the same year eBay launched, TLC topped the charts, and Time Magazine selected Newt Gingrich as “Man of the Year.” Based on my date of birth, I can learn exactly who I am according to today’s headlines.

I am clueless about cellphone etiquette, despite existing before the advent of smartphones, flip phones, and even texting. The Washington Post agrees, reporting that “a third of Millennials whip out their cellphones in public ‘for no particular reason’.” I suppose this is one of the many side effects of being raised with technology, and The Sims in particular. Additionally, I am distrustful of the digital economy involving personal security. Of course, everyone knows the over-thirty crowd loves identity theft.

Speaking of the economy, CNN states that “market chaos” is most harmful to Millennials such as myself. Therefore, it makes sense that I lack faith in the stock market – however, NBC News experts claim this is a problem as well. Why shouldn’t I give all of my excess income to Wall Street? After all, I’m not leaving the nest, and I’m crowdfunding my college tuition. Whether irresponsible or ingenious, I am changing the job market altogether as a result. That’s right, I’m the one who chose to be an unemployed college graduate.

In fact, my liberal arts education is likely why my morals are fast, loose, and up for political debate. I’ll put out in ten text messages or less, according to Mashable. I might even identify with the one third of Millennials who aren’t 100 percent straight. (I know nobody asked about my sexual preferences, but I let some researchers publish them in the Washington Post anyways.)

Thanks to Market Watch, I am just now realizing that growing up is hard to do. Is it because I have a bleak future, as The Week Magazine says? Is it because I’m reliant on social media, my parents, and memories that “only 90’s kids” remember? Is it because I’m investing my money in education, leaving myself at a loss for a mortgage, a 401k, and the stock market? Is it because I’m defined by the year into which I was arbitrarily born?


Major news media outlets report ad nauseam about Millennials: the “cohort of Americans born between 1980 and the mid-2000s” that makes up one third of the US demographic. We are polled, analyzed, and churned out as eye-catching headlines and statistics. We are labeled “diverse,” yet dissected by stereotypes based on our color, gender, sexuality, class, etc. We are framed in the context of conventional paradigms – but we are so much more.

My goal is to mitigate the negative portrayal of Millennials in the media. My goal is to demonstrate that we are capable of communicating without emojis. My goal is to promulgate ideas that might not appear on CNN, NBC, or FOX. My goal is to open up honest, bipartisan discussions to find common ground on issues that matter (not that cellphone etiquette isn’t dire to our survival as a species). This blog is ultimately about politics – but like my generation, it is about so much more.

Welcome to Politicana.