Dear Class of 2020
by Doyle Ranstrom on May 22, 2020
Dear Class of 2020, I have good news and bad news. The good news, you've got this. The bad news, we left a mess for you.
Other classes have faced adversity, but yours is unique. Think of it this way. You are working a job making a few bucks and your parents and grandparents invite you out for a nice dinner at a good restaurant, however, when the check comes, they get up and leave you to pay. That is essentially what we have done to you.
I am sorry about this. Actually, I truly am. My generation has let yours down. Life is always beautiful, but rarely fair. For example, if life was fair, I would be taller, better looking, could dance and sing. For the record, I am outstanding at both dancing and singing when by myself.
Understand the difference between fate and destiny. Fate is what life gives you. Destiny is what you give life. You have no control over fate. You have a lot of control over destiny.
As a class, your fate is the US has been at war for most if not all your life, and making it worse, much of the costs of these wars have been passed on to you in terms of federal deficit spending. You had nothing to do with this. Do not blame yourself or the government, blame the political parties which let this happen to you. They were in control. That's your fate, your destiny is how you deal with it going forward.
The coronavirus and current pandemic will affect the rest of your lives. That is also your fate. The coronavirus was inevitable, the pandemic was a choice which people in leadership positions made for you by ignoring warning signs and not investing in public health. The human cost is immeasurable, the economic cost is in the trillions and growing. Your destiny is how you deal with the aftermath of the pandemic and how you implement and manage public health going forward.
In life is some people do not learn from anyone's mistakes, average people learn from their own mistakes and smart people learn from the mistakes of others. Do not be in the first group, be in the last. Learn from my generation's mistakes and use them to make a better future for yourself and those around you.
And you have the tools to make a better future. For example, using social media and the internet, infectious disease scientists from all over the world are coordinating and cooperating to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus. A recent article in the New York Times entitled "Covid-19 Changed How the World Does Science, Together". It illustrates this.
A recent Ted Talk by bioengineer Jim Collins discussed how his team was using Artificial Intelligence [AI] to develop antibiotics to help fight the coronavirus and future viruses that may appear. You will be able to use AI to solve all types of problems.
As an individual, you will have lots of opportunities for personal success and life fulfillment in a wide variety of careers. As a group, having the ability for instant communication [social media], immediate access to information and knowledge from qualified and credentialed experts in all areas [the internet], the ability to use technology to improve lives throughout the world [AI], will enable you to address and solve all types of problems. It will be challenging but also exciting and rewarding. I wish I could be part of it, but as long as I am around, I will be your cheerleader.
And this brings me to my final point. You are going to do a lot of important things in your life. One of the most important of these is to be an informed voter. As outlined above, you’re getting stuck with the check for expenses you did not cause. You need to actively work towards electing National Leaders who have your best interests in mind. Make a list of issues that are important to you. Then rate each candidate on each issue and then decide who gets your vote. Though there are exceptions, I would suggest the vast majority of National leaders are followers. Make them follow you, not you them.
For years I have thought our best generation is the Millennials. However, I now think you will be better than them, partly because you have to. They will pave the way, but you will achieve more because you have the tools and drive to do so. Also, you kind of have to. Again, I am sorry about this. You are smart, educated, and at an early age, have a lot of experience. Sure, you will have to address problems you did not create, but you also have the tools to solve them.
One final thought. Throughout the world, hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people are working together to limit the number of deaths from the coronavirus. There are exceptions, but this means almost all of us globally care about and value others. It is another reason to be optimistic about the future. Again, you got this.
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