RISE OF THE MILLUMINATI: A NEW GENERATION, A NEW POWER, A NEW WORLD

The Question

My first conscious thoughts of anything as grand as a Milluminati came to me shortly after the 2008 presidential election. Some friends of mine and I were having lunch when one of them commented on the elation [I] “must have felt…”  at having a black man elected to the presidency of the United States- “what a vindication!”- they gushed. Although I did appreciate the spirit of my friend’s assumptions, I’d have to admit that I was just as befuddled as anyone… I couldn’t understand how it had happened! Nothing revealed itself during my twice-a- week visits to the local barbershop… there was no hint that the sleeping spirit of united political action had swept through the African- American community, moving all 14 million of us to vote as one.  As usual, my friends and relatives in Texas were withholding their support, deferring to the time tested wisdom of “Aint no way these white folk gonna let a black-man be President!” We more “progressive” blacks, by and large, were split down the middle… “Obama’s too inexperienced and liberal…” “Too bad he’s a democrat…”, and my personal favorite “he’s not even “truly” black…” were just a few reasons some African-Americans didn’t celebrate Obama’s ascent. Yes, it’s true that many of us were absolutely in favor of the campaign for “Change”, but just as many were not in favor of Marriage Equality, a Pro-Choice agenda, or gay rights.

Blacks Against Obama 1 But if we didn’t elect him who did? Who had the gall, the audacity… the vision to make a “black” man-  a descendant of slaves… the single most powerful person on the planet?

The Answer

For some weeks afterwards I did what  curious people, like myself, do when confronted with impossible puzzles: I carried it with me everywhere I went. One day I found myself having an energetic discussion with a friend of mine who was an ardent supporter of the GOP; he was [patiently] explaining to me that, due to his relative political inexperience, Obama would soon be “out of his depth.” This idea had been widely circulated on FOX, and other conservative news outlets after the elections, so I had been given ample opportunity to develop a counter-argument and was preparing to launch it when… “Dad, you’re just saying that because he’s black…” his son huffed, as if exasperated by his father’s lack of insight. “That’s not why- his color has nothing to do with anything!” was the very predictable (and somewhat feeble) response from my friend. I could take you through the next hour or so of ideological bludgeoning inflicted upon my friend by his son, but I won’t. What’s important is this: where did this kid come from, and why was he so informed?

Corona Del Mar
Corona Del Mar

After the young man was done educating his father on the finer points of political debate, he donned his favorite “slouchy” beanie, skinny jeans, Jimi Hendrix t-shirt, iPhone,  backpack, and skateboard before riding off into the kind of Winter night that only exist in places like Corona Del Mar California.

Putting It All Together

My friend’s son was 16 at the time- not even old enough to vote, and yet… Not only did he exhibit a depth of knowledge and enthusiasm for politics- uncommon for Americans of any age, I could tell that he had given his father a thing or two to think about… I was onto something!  I felt my “impossible puzzle” shrink to the size of something slightly better than an improbable riddle. Is it possible that a group of kids like my friend’s son came together to elect Americas first “black” President, less than 50 years after MLK’s march on Selma? A group of kids hanging out at a Starbucks in Newport Beach supplied me with all the intel I needed.

There were about 15 of them, all in their late teens, early 20’s; apparently they had all gathered here to participate in a “Magic the Gathering” tournament. (Find a millennial, they’ll tell you all about it.) Their faces were black, white, brown, pink, and beige. “Where’s Farhan?” A very pretty, pink member of the group inquired while making her way to one of the available tables. “He just “snap-chatted” me a picture of him,in traffic, coming from L.A…. he’s gonna be awhile!” a young man, whose skin was the color of dark coffee, answered, never looking away from a match between an Asian young man, and an Indian-Asian young woman. “Oh yeah… I got that too…” a tall black boy supplied, ” “…sucks to be him!” he finished as those around him laughed their agreement.

There, in Starbucks, over the bubbly voices of espresso machines plying their trade, and the muted chatter of commerce being conducted men in ties, I heard another voice…bold, unapologetic, its accent universal, its timbre deep and powerful… a thunder-clap resonating through space and time, vibrant with the energy of youth… I could hear the future.

Millenials Time Article

Millennials is the term used to describe the group of people born between 1982 and the year 2000, and depending on who you ask they are either “civic minded and aware” or “narcissistic and entitled”; “depressed and detached” or “upbeat and connected.”

It seems that where ever one looks, someone is trying to find a way to harness the lightning-strike power that the millennials under my roof have dubbed The “Milluminati.”

 The Illuminati is a secret society, composed of a handful of the most powerful people in the world, and their goal is to control everything from birth to death, war to wealth, and all things in-between…all while remaining perfectly invisible. See where I’m going with this?  Whether or not the Illuminati actually exist depends on who you ask. Urban legend has it that their agendas unfold by degrees and can take decades to come to fruition. Not so for the Milluminati.

Millenials 3 Group ChangeThe similarities between the Illuminati and its 21 century redux are non-existent save, of course, for both groups relative invisibility. For instance, where the former is isolated, calculating, patient, and self-serving; the latter is networked, impatient, operates in plain sight, and has a decidedly altruistic bent. One works through established institutions to accomplish its goals while the other works to deconstruct, re-imagine, or enervate any institution that it finds to be archaic or obsolete. The Illuminati (if you believe in such a thing) goes to great length to maintain their veil of secrecy and anonymity, the other is shielded by nothing more than the casual way it executes its agenda. Those not aligned with millennials will perceive its actions as nothing more than random, lazy attempts to be relevant.

A Quick TallyMillenials 2 Group Social Media

Well let’s take a look at a few of the “random” things that have happened since the first of these young people started voting:

  1. Legalization of Marijuana- A conversation that has been relatively one-sided since the 1930’s when the federal government implemented the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Without boring you to death with a lot of history, people have received 20 year prison sentences for possessing 10 joints. Although federal law still lags… many states are starting to see, with the help of their 18-29 year old constituents, the upside to legalizing marijuana, chiefly the $1.3 billion to be made from simply taxing it. Additionally, 60% of that same age group is in favor of legalization – a trend that has been surging upwards since around 2010.
  2. Marriage Equality- It’s been on the back burner since the 70’s. The rise of “Gay Pride,” with it’s  in- your face assertion that it was not only “ok” to be gay, but that it could be down-right “fabulous!” Artist and entertainers rammed the topic into the national psyche, and there it languished, never achieving the full integration that had been the goal. 2000 saw the first states legalizing same-sex unions. By 2004 a few states were actually choosing to recognize marriage equality. 2009 saw the first federal laws actually making “Pathologization or attempted treatment of sexual orientation with minors by mental health professionals illegal in some states.” Finally, in 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States in a 5-4 decision ruled that state level bans on same-sex marriages were unconstitutional.
  3. Elected A Black President- I could just leave it there, but I want to take a few lines to illuminate the relevance of this. As far as presidents go, Obama is fairly moderate… never straying too far from the policies, or the governmental structure, that had been put in place long before he came into office. He was never going to be a revolutionary. But what was revolutionary was what he symbolized- in a word… “Change!” The act of electing an African-American as the P.O.T.U.S. is tantamount to the ancient Egyptians electing a Jew to be Pharaoh and illustrates the revolutionary changes expected by this generation in a way that can’t be measured by polls, studies, or statistics.

We All Get Old…If We’re Lucky…

Generally speaking, as we become older, human beings tend to “settle-down” into communities of people that reflect our beliefs and values. While in our youth we are interested in exploring, developing, and defining what those beliefs and values are. What makes this generation so uniquely formidable is its ability to create networks, share information, connect, and mobilize on a scale never seen in all of human history… all while remaining virtually invisible. I recently had a conversation with a young man- himself no older than 23. He assured me that “kids” from his generation hadn’t the slightest idea what they were voting for, because they were too lazy to look up the issues themselves. In his sage and sober observation he observed that instead of engaging in the “real” work of analysis and research, they simply chose whatever looked “…coolest…” The good news is according to prevailing trends and research, my young friend is a little off the mark. According to the Pew Research Center for Politics and Policy in 2008:

Young voters are more diverse racially and ethnically than older voters and more secular in their religious orientation. These characteristics, as well as the climate in which they have come of age politically, incline them not only toward Democratic Party affiliation but also toward greater support of activist government, greater opposition to the war in Iraq, less social conservatism, and a greater willingness to describe themselves as liberal politically.

The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) published the following report after the elections of 2012:

An estimated 23 million young Americans under the age of 30 voted in the 2012 presidential election which is on par with voting rates during the 2008 presidential election. CIRCLE estimates that youth voter turnout was 50 percent of those (18-to-29) eligible to vote. This was very close to the 2008 youth turnout rate of 52 percent, indicating that youth held steady in their participation.

Liberal or conservative, republican or democrat… these concepts are being bent, broken, and re-imagined in ways that they haven’t before… the muscle behind the morphosis is young, proud, enigmatic, quick to act, and technologically sleek. Capable of looking bored- even aloof ,one minute, and then with a keystroke, change the course of history. And yes, I  think that’s pretty cool!

Millenials EvolutionNow for the bad news… various polls show that the Millennials political fire is starting to wane or at least modulate toward a more conservative center. There are plenty of reasons for this…  polls are notoriously prone to being manipulated to fit agendas, and there are a lot of agendas centered around controlling a group of people with massive political capital, youthful idealism, and the tools to recreate the world… now. So, by telling you that you are more conservative the hope is that you will become more conservative- think “Jedi-mind-trick.”

Old and Young People 2Another possible reason the millennial fire may be cooling a bit is… simply put… we get old.  As  we live life, we become more invested in the stability afforded by upholding the status quo; relationships, marriages, mortgages, kids in college, careers, business interest… these things require a certain amount of physical, fiscal, and political focus in order to be maintained. Standing on the shoulders of giants

The dynamic idealism of youth will always give way to the solid pragmatism of maturity- upon which the next wave of progress will be built- it’s the whole “Standing on the shoulders of giants” thing.
Standing on the shoulders of Giants 2

Curious People Like Me

The puzzle of the Milluminati- who they are, and what they mean for the world we live in, went from being impossible to solve to being sublimely easy to accept. Blacks and whites civil rights 2Who knows why young people do the things they do: why the children of plantation owners fought so hard to abolish their birth right; or how the children of slaves decided they were entitled to their humanity; or how the children of segregation, both, black and white, decided it was time to live as one… who knows! But it works… and today that’s good enough for a curious person like me.

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Ready Or Not, Here She Comes!!!

The World According To Curran

This is gonna sound corny to some, and like a “line” to others, but I… Love… Women! And I think their time is neigh…in the U.S. I mean; According to worldstatesmen.org, there are 22 female heads of state as of this year, with one of them being the fifth most powerful person on this little chunk of rock, but as the U.S. preps itself for the wholesale peddling of flesh that is the General Election, both sides are making it abundantly clear that they are willing to consider “trying new things” if it culminates in them being able to do the “Ickey Shuffle” in the Oval Office. Is She ready… are we? Inquiring minds want to know…

Girl Power

Fifth Most Powerful Person in the World (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel

President of Brasil Dilma Rouseff

Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton

President of S. Korea Park Geun-hye

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AN OPEN LETTER TO MY FRIENDS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT

The World According To Curran

Dear Good Cop,

You may remember me, I was the kid who shared his peanut-butter sandwich with you on our first day in kindergarten. Later, in high school, you saved me from being “trashed” by a group of ravenous upper-classmen during our freshman year. It doesn’t surprise me that you chose to become a police officer, there’s always been something of the hero in you, but as I’m sure you know by now, not all police are made of the same stuff.I know you’re busy, so I’d like to keep this letter brief. Lately there have been some disturbing stories circulating on the news and through social media about some of your co-workers, and as a father, a husband-a protector, I am compelled to appeal to you my friend, and my neighbor.   During the discussions I’ve heard debating Michael Brown, Kelly Thomas, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Troy Goode

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Poll: WTF DOES ICE CUBE KNOW ABOUT SOCIAL THEORY?

The World According To Curran

Today’s question is the result of an internal struggle that I’ve been having for the last year or so. On one hand, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that an effective policing  force is an absolutely essential part of building a civil society. To deny that society would tear itself apart without one, would reflect an ignorance so complete that it could only be intentional. However, every time I hear about some “innocent” person being strangled out of existence by a “strong-arm” bureaucracy, what can I say… my inner Ice Cube comes out and “F*ck The Police!” becomes the depths and breadth of my civil rationale.

How do we reconcile these two views? Do we continue to turn the other cheek, trust that Lady Justice will eventually reign-in her wayward children, and then start praying that no one we love falls victim to their irrevocable indiscretions OR do we “whoride” on the b*tch, set…

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MENTAL ILLNESS… A VERY INCONVENIENT TRUTH

The World According To Curran

WE ALL KNOW SOMEONE

As a child I remembered words like “mentally retarded” being a perfectly ordinary way to describe another human being. No big deal was ever made about those “retards” that never went to school, because “who wanted them there” anyways. In those early years mental illness was an aberration that happened only to people who had done something wrong; like smoking or drinking while pregnant, or God was punishing them for the sins of their parents.

One day, when I was in high school, my mother attempted to commit suicide and my eyes were snatched open to a new type of mental “retardation” called depression. Depression was interesting, because pills could fix it, and no one ever had to know you had it. We found out later that my mother’s depression was the result of trauma, and pills could only hide the depression- not cure it. Over the…

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MENTAL ILLNESS… A VERY INCONVENIENT TRUTH

WE ALL KNOW SOMEONE

As a child I remembered words like “mentally retarded” being a perfectly ordinary way to describe another human being. No big deal was ever made about those “retards” that never went to school, because “who wanted them there” anyways. In those early years mental illness was an aberration that happened only to people who had done something wrong; like smoking or drinking while pregnant, or God was punishing them for the sins of their parents.

One day, when I was in high school, my mother attempted to commit suicide and my eyes were snatched open to a new type of mental “retardation” called depression. Depression was interesting, because pills could fix it, and no one ever had to know you had it. We found out later that my mother’s depression was the result of trauma, and pills could only hide the depression- not cure it. Over the next 30 years I learned that not only does depression make you “sad”, it can also make you angry; cause you to drink, smoke, do drugs or worse.  I also learned that my mother wasn’t the only one suffering from depression.

According to a 2014 Newsweek article, 1 in 5 Americans (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population.) suffer from some sort of mental illness… 42.5 millionMental Illness 25% people struggle with mental illness, and as it turns out, depression is just the tip of the iceberg. Other “illnesses” include bipolar disorder and  schizophrenia. The study shows that another 9.3 million Americans, ages 18 and up, experience “serious mental-illness”- to put it another way, their condition impedes day to day activities. The good news is, with the proliferation of mental illness across all parts of American society, policies are actually being proposed that could potentially help people like my mother get the help they need.

The Affordable Care Act of 2010, for instance, names mental health as an “essential benefit“- meaning that every health insurance policy must cover it in order to meet the governments mandated “minimum requirements.” The bad news is that some states are balking at offering the coverage, and millions of Americans are left to cope with these issues on their own- the results of which are often catastrophic.

WHAT IS APPARENT… 

The proofs are as indisputable as they are indelible: April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech student, Seung- Hui Cho, killed 32 people and wounded 17 others before taking his own life; December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza kills 27, including 20 children (ages 5-10) as well as his own mother before turning the gun on himself; July 20,2012, University of Colorado doctoral student, James Holmes, kills 12 people and wounds another 70 before surrendering to the police. Three men… 71 dead… 87 wounded and countless lives destroyed. Three mentally ill men killed 71 Republicans, Democrats, right-wing nut-jobs, bleeding-heart socialist anti-American liberals… and children. Children, unmarked by any desire other than to love, to be loved, to learn, and then go home.

 Seung- Hui was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder when he was in the 8th grade; James Holmes told his therapist that he fantasized about “killing lots of people… to  make up for his failure in science” nearly a month before the shootings; Adam Lanza was described by friends and family members as being “deeply troubled.”

Ultimately, we may never know what compelled them and the truth is (at this point) the “why” doesn’t matter… their acts are inexcusable, and the pain caused by them will take generations to heal.Mental Illness 3 What is apparent is that mental illness is no longer an “issue” effecting a handful of people, easily relegated to outskirts of society and forgotten. It is a crisis, cloaked in denial, quietly passed from generation to generation until someone breaks… and suddenly the delusion is shattered, blood is spilled, and in a flash of light and death it becomes clear that someone, who could have been anyone, needed help.

Poll: WTF DOES ICE CUBE KNOW ABOUT SOCIAL THEORY?

Today’s question is the result of an internal struggle that I’ve been having for the last year or so. On one hand, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that an effective policing  force is an absolutely essential part of building a civil society. To deny that society would tear itself apart without one, would reflect an ignorance so complete that it could only be intentional. However, every time I hear about some “innocent” person being strangled out of existence by a “strong-arm” bureaucracy, what can I say… my inner Ice Cube comes out and “F*ck The Police!” becomes the depths and breadth of my civil rationale.

How do we reconcile these two views? Do we continue to turn the other cheek, trust that Lady Justice will eventually reign-in her wayward children, and then start praying that no one we love falls victim to their irrevocable indiscretions OR do we “whoride” on the b*tch, set her house on fire- along with the murderous rat-bastards she unleashed on our neighborhoods, and then start praying that the fire doesn’t spread … but it will… just like it did in Los Angeles in 1992, and like it continues to do in Ferguson Missouri, and the entire world would watch as all that we loved burned.

Ultimately, a partnership will be established between the civil government, and the citizens, and we will work together to create a peaceful and harmonious society where all life is accounted for and respected. OR  together,we will turn every city block into a battle ground… where it won’t matter if you drive a Crown Vic or a 6-4 Impala; you’re a father of four just doing your job, or a father of four lost in rage. Your communities… our communities… will burn, just like they did in Rodney King’s Los Angeles and continue to do in Michael Brown’s Ferguson, and the world will watch as you call for backup, and we shout “1-8-7 on a muthaf*@kin cop!”, chuckin-up our deuces as the life you knew and the things we love burn… It’s time to decide.

Ice Cube

NEXT POLL: MENTAL ILLNESS… AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH