For the Sovereignty of the Living Generation: Millennials Must Run for Something
By Johnny V. Boykins
We are the generation of governmental failure and we are the generation that can fundamentally change our destiny by running for political office, joining community boards and commissions, and speaking out in industries where we are now in the ranks of leadership. We must do it, for the sovereignty of the living generation.
An open letter to my fellow Millennials:
Take a moment and step away from your webinar teaching your company elders on how to use the video conferencing program. Take a break from arguing with your Boomer and Gen X grandparents and parents on the merits of listening to public health officials. Put down your phone and step away from the Tik Tok videos you are watching but no worries, I know the Gen Z app is addicting. We are living in an era that is unprecedented yet increasingly familiar. We ARE the generation of living with governmental failure.
As we practice our social distancing during this unprecedented global health pandemic, I have come to the following realization. Millennials are disproportionally affected by the global health crisis that is COVID19 because we are the generation that primarily represents the Gig Economy. We are the generation who was just starting to see our lives recover from the Great Recession of 2008. We are the generation who despite how much we have achieved have very little to fall back on and those of us that do are likely supporting our Boomer, Gen X and in some cases Gen Z family. I write this knowing that many of us are raising families, working on the front lines as health workers, educators, small business owners, and managers in industries large and small. I also recognize that many of us working in hospitality, retail, entertainment, nonprofit, and services industries have been furloughed or worse laid off. But I believe there is a silver lining. We must seize setback and turn it into an opportunity to #RunForSomething. We must do it for the sovereignty of the living generation.
We have only known government failure for most of our lives. Millennials are the generation that entered our high school years with a fundamental shift in geopolitics in the aftermath of 9/11. Millennials are the generation that established the ritual of thoughts and prayers, as our leaders have failed to protect us from gun violence. Millennials are the generation who graduated high school and entered college under perpetual warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, where our government lied and sent many of us off to fight in foreign wars. Millennials are the generation who watched in horror as our government failed to rescue our fellow American’s in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Millennials are the generation of who graduate from college with an ungodly amount of student debt only to end up facing the great recession and financial crisis. A decade later, in our prime working years, Millennials are facing down COVID19. We are the generation that has lived with political gridlock and obstruction. The generation who has seen the promise of the American Dream stripped away even when we have done everything right. We might the generation of government failure but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something to change our trajectory. We can change our current circumstances by running for something. We must for the sake of the living generation.
The Sovereignty of the Living Generation
While ignoring the racism and slavery of our American founding father Thomas Jefferson, I have been reviewing a lot of his papers and letters as of late. I encourage you all to read the letters between Paine and Jefferson on the topic of generational sovereignty. In many ways, I have become radicalized. Paine writes to Jefferson, “Every age and generation must be free to act for itself, in all cases, as the ages and generations which preceded it. The vanity of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.” Jefferson and Paine are giving us a playbook. I believe we have an opportunity to do something to change our destiny. We must seize this setback and turn it into an opportunity to #RunForSomething. We must do it for the sovereignty of the living generation
While I am not affiliated with the organization Run For Something, I do believe in their mission, and I am asking all of you to do it. Run for political office, join a community board or commission, start an organization that serves the community, push forward ideas in boardrooms and management hurdles. We must reshape our current state of politics in our image. We have an obligation to the living generation to do so. We must run for something because we know that despite our political differences, Millennials can find common ground. Liberal millennials and conservative millennials are products of the same governmental failures. If elected, I believe that we could make a real difference in our living destiny. We must run for something because of climate change, global pandemic, financial stability, equity, equality, and morality. We must run for something because our sovereignty is being stripped away by people who don’t seemingly care about us. My fellow Millennials, we are the generation of governmental failure and we are the generation that can fundamentally change our destiny by running for political office, joining community boards and commissions, and speaking out in industries where we are now in the ranks of leadership. We must do it, for the sovereignty of the living generation.
Johnny V. Boykins is President of the Pinellas County Young Democrats, a husband, bow tie aficionado, amateur chef, and U.S. Coast Guard veteran. Johnny is also currently serving as Vice Chairman of the Pinellas Democratic Party.