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My Fellow Millennial Revolutionaries, Be Careful What You Wish For

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 16/03/2016 Paul Emerich France

Like many a millennial, I, too, am romanticized by Bernie's call for a political revolution. We millennials have seen quite a change in our lifetime, from the uplifting messages of the '90s, telling us we can do anything and be anything, to the startling realities that came as a result of 9/11 and the Great Recession.
We were promised so much. We were told that gender was irrelevant, that skin color need not matter, that looks were only temporary and superficial. We were promised that we could grow up to be anything, so long as we worked hard and stayed true to ourselves. We were promised a bona fide American Dream.
And while we held these truths to be self-evident, we've had no choice but to realize just the opposite, that these seemingly axiomatic truths are none but farce: euphemized propaganda intended to make us feel warm and fuzzy, in a world that may very well just be cold and spiky.
Now that we've flashed forward 20 years or so, from school days of inflated egos and worthless trophies, to the harsh realities of the mid-2010s, we can't help but look back bitterly, thinking about all of those broken promises -- pondering the difficulty of finding a well-paying job that keeps up with the rents, rates of inflation, and our outstanding student loans, perplexed by the idea that the majority of the wealth in our country resides within a small portion of the nation's most privileged, enraged by a woman's pittance of a salary when compared to her male counterparts, heartbroken by youth killed on the streets and poisoned by self-serving governments -- all as a means of harnessing power, to maintain a homeostasis rationalized as safer and more productive than starting from scratch.
We look back, juxtaposing our pasts with the present that lay before us, leaving no better beacon of hope than the incomparable Bernie Sanders, a man who we believe never would have made those promises lightly, a man who claims to have been calling the bluffs of politicians for years, a man who promises a revolution, using the stench of greed as a scapegoat, as opposed to the Republicans' fallacious scapegoating of innocent immigrants and religious minorities. In Bernie, we see our childhood ideals, we see fairness, we see democracy, and most importantly, we see ourselves.
And this ironic truth lies at the crux of all of this. We see something in it, not only for the greater good of the country, but also for ourselves. We advocate for revolution, not entirely out of burning feelings of altruism, but rather for the ways in which it will benefit us as individuals, for the romance of changing the world, all the while hoping it will help others, too.
As a fellow millennial, I may not even fully comprehend the gravity of what I'm saying, as I, too, have grown up with a certain level of privilege, hailing from an upper middle-class suburb on the outskirts of Chicago. I am much like many of my hipster counterparts, Bernie supporters, and otherwise college-educated twenty-somethings who so vehemently advocate for this modern American Revolution, all the while manifesting the epitome of modern capitalism, wearing stylishly-grungy-but-still-designer hipster clothing, posting artistic selfies on Instagram with our smartphones, and brunching with friends at posh, faux-industrial establishments on Sunday afternoons, fresh off the self-indulgent hangover that may or may not have ended in Mom and Dad's basement.
My point being, at the center of all of this talk of revolution lies a quiet paradox that either no one wants to listen to, or no one can hear beneath the ignorant privilege that colors many millennials' perspective: a perspective that beckons for revolution without realizing the devastating realities of a true revolution.
Perhaps, however, the revolution that Bernie is calling for is and will be worth it, and perhaps the motivation for said revolution must also come from somewhat selfish desires. But what we need to realize is that revolution is not easy; it isn't all the glory that Bernie and the hipsters make it out to be. Revolution is bloody, people die, and it's likely that we'll feel a lot of the pains of change before feeling any of the benefits.
That said, the United States is already bloody, whether literally or metaphorically so; people are already dying unjustly around the country, either through police brutality or by having their lives taken away through lifetimes of incarceration; we are already feeling the sharp pains of an enslavement to an economy that preys on the middle and lower classes.
Perhaps revolution is just what we need to turn the country around. But we must be ready to commit to it. We must be prepared to give up the simple pleasures that come from avoiding revolution. In an era where we expect to click a button and get exactly what we need -- and within minutes -- we are going to be sorely disappointed if we expect this radical change to happen simply with the election of a new president, despite how charismatic, genuine, and altruistic he may seem. It will take so much more.
So I ask you, fellow millennials, not necessarily to vote against Bernie, or even to reconsider your viewpoint, but instead to know what you're voting for when you vote for a political revolution.

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