In my fantasy, I’m climbing the barricades.  I’m not sure why I’m climbing the barricades. It’s been a long time since I’ve believed in anything strongly enough to do that sort of thing.

Maybe I’m climbing the barricades because I got tired of playing with my phone.

I’m waving a flag, but what flag could I possibly be waving?  The flag of doing my best to pay my bills?  The flag of 9 to 5 employment?

I’m surrounded on all sides by real fighters–warriors truly engaged in the battle.  Unlike me, they’re not here to march down the alley in slow motion, trying hard to be Beyonce in her Lemonade video.  They actually want to change things.  They’re not here looking for a shiver of excitement, for a reminder that life doesn’t have to be safe and boring.

Me?  I think the truth is I want to belong somewhere.

But speaking of the excitement, where is it?  Where is the smoke?  Where are the tear gas cannisters?  I don’t see any bombs or bricks getting thrown.

For that matter, I don’t see anyone to fight.  The street I’m wandering down is suddenly very empty.  No creepy authorities dressed in black.  I look around, feeling lost.  Nobody to get angry at, to shout at.  And why should there be?

It turns out, the person I’m protesting is myself.

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And possibly born into the wrong generation.  (I’m supposed to be either X or Y, don’t remember which letter of the alphabet).  The more I hear about the millennials, the more I see that I agree with their values–which are often portrayed in a negative light.

Millennials don’t think of owning a car as a necessity.  For those raised in our car-centric culture, this seems downright un-American.  I happen to love being a non-driver.  It all depends on what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for.  Living in an urban area where you can take the train–or better yet, walk!–everywhere is a beautiful thing.

Millennials also don’t consider homeownership to be as important as their parents and grandparents did.  Again, this is viewed as a failure of this generation, or as a sign that they are giving up on the American dream.  But maybe the dream is simply changing.  I am a homeowner at the moment, but as time goes on, downsizing to a condo or apartment is looking more and more attractive.  Taking care of a home with a yard is a hassle, and living in the suburbs is a screaming bore.

Millennials believe in a work/life balance, and they’re right about this one as well.  We exist with the delusion that our lives will be better if we sacrifice them on the altar of work.  But what’s the point of making the money if you don’t ever have the time to sit back and enjoy what you’ve earned?

They are also socially liberal and accepting of diversity.  I’ve always thought this was a no-brainer, but unfortunately, recent events in the news show us that it isn’t.  Maybe this new generation will finally get it.  And they tend to be spiritual rather than religious.  Religion adds structure to spiritual practice, which can be useful, but spirituality is where the true connection with God is found. So it seems the young have their priorities straight.

There is only one area in which I will have to part ways with the millennials–they are disillusioned when it comes to politics, and mostly not engaged in political activism or even voting.  I can’t blame them for feeling this way, considering the way our political system works these days.  But I still believe that it’s crucial to be active.  No matter how cynical you may be about it–and I am–it’s best to be alert and involved with your lawmakers, otherwise the day may come when your lawmakers decide to become involved with your life in ways you didn’t expect.

So I guess if nothing else, I’m younger in spirit than I am in body.  Now where’s my latest time-bending invention?  I have to make sure to be born in the correct year this time.

Well, it looks like an extension of unemployment benefits will not be a part of the new budget deal.  Meanwhile, the long-term structural problem with employment in this country–that of jobs getting outsourced overseas–continues.  What are the unemployed to do?

There’s an obvious solution which would warm the cockles of even Paul Ryan’s bleak, Ayn Rand-infused heart.  It’s about time we had a real hunger games.  Except this one would involve only unemployed people.  They’re takers and moochers, so their lives are not worth as much anyway.  And there’s no way that any of the wealthy job creators should be risking their well-being in a competition like this.  We could have a contestant from each sector of employment which has been losing jobs to other countries:  manufacturing, high tech, call centers etc.  Just like in the movie, this would be a reality TV show–thus, getting rid of the jobless and producing a profit at the same time!  The lone survivor could get an extension of his/her unemployment benefits.  Or even better, the winner could be rewarded with a job.  Sure, chances are you would lose your life in the games, but if you’re not willing to do anything to get a job, you’re just not trying hard enough.

If nothing else, this would be a refreshingly honest proposal from Paul Ryan.  But I doubt we’ll ever see such honesty on Capitol Hill.