"I don't want to stab the prime minister in the back -- I want to stab him in the front so I can see the expression on his face. You'd have to twist the knife, though, because we want it back to attack [ ]."
"If you ask me my blunt position, I would say -- every place you find an [ ], slit his throat. Likewise, I am against talks, negotiations, meetings, and normalization in all its forms."
"I'll beat the crap out of you . . . Part of the problem . . . is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore . . . I don't know if I'll do the fighting myself or if other people will."
"I can't help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr."
It's been a rough couple of weeks. But amid all the violence and frustration, you'd think a leader or two would arise to guide us in next steps, to help us refocus on achievable goals, and to forward the rectification of wrongs. Instead, if the quotes above -- which are actually attributable to prominent leaders of mostly first-world countries -- are any indication, we are rather observing the opposite phenomenon.
I find this increasingly frustrating.
Millennials were raised to believe that America was beyond the incitement of needless hatred, and that the world's leaderships were increasingly less likely to prescribe violence as a remedy to frustration. But, instead, it seems the history books we were raised with simply got it wrong: We do not live in an ideal America -- or an ideal world.
However, the vision of this ideal America still can be and remains useful, if only because it provides the standard against which to judge our current shortcomings. If we don't know where we'd like the world to be, how can we diagnose the present illness? The problem, in short, is that we have no plan, no partner, and no leader to forge the path ahead. My frustration stems not from the magnitude of the workload, but from the lack of proper partners and proper leadership needed to achieve this ideal America, in which no one fears persecution based off the color of their skin, the covering on their head, their national identity -- a real true diversity, a real true democracy.
And I don't believe I'm alone in this feeling of frustration due to the lack of proper leadership, or, at the very least, the frustration stemmed by the lack of proper options for future leaders to tackle our collective shortcomings. This generation has the incredible and unprecedented ability to employ an ongoing "people's pulpit"; anyone and everyone can vent their frustrations with the state of world affairs in 140 characters or less. We have been the generation of #OccupyWallStreet, #BlackLivesMatter, #ArabSpring, trending sound-bytes, and all. Millennials have a unique ability to curry momentum for reform.
But what happens when those five seconds of fame dissipate? What happens when the hashtag stops trending? When the masses go home? Does anyone continue the work needed, or was it simply to air the grievance?
"The Pig has shot and killed [ ] . . . You and I know what we must do and I don't mean marching, making a lot of noise, or attending conventions. We must "Rally The Troops!" It is time to visit [ ] and hold a barbecue. The highlight of our occasion will be to sprinkle Pigs Blood!"
"[We are] calling on the gangs across the nation! Attack everything in blue . . ."
"Death to traitors, freedom for [ ]"
"This is now war. Watch out [ ]. Watch out [ ] punks. Real America is coming after you."
Seemingly not (see above).
The leadership we have appears to not only echo our grievances -- rather than shaping them in healthier and more productive ways -- but also inclines those compelled to act toward anger and violence.
All of this has left us millennials with a future of #Brexit and #Drumpf, while we really didn't ask for it. When handled correctly, by proper leaders, frustration can and should spur ideas like the New Deal and leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. It can be channeled and directed in such a way that it becomes helpful and creative, not harmful and destructive. Proper leadership should use frustration to promote innovation, and sound policy, and a sound future. But in order to do that -- that is, in order to turn frustration into satisfaction -- we need leaders and thinkers to insist that we use our frustration constructively, and not indulge in our worst impulses.
Yet one week after #BlackLivesMatter made its resurgence, never has it been clearer that we're the leaderless generation. And I can't help but ponder if the resurgence would have been necessary if one person would have chosen to lead the start of the reform needed to get to the ideal America we were taught in history class.