The 2010s are now behind you and an exciting new decade lies ahead.
The last decade, as with any other, had its peaks and valleys. What’s important is that we learn from the experiences of people and history that revolve around us. Here are some thoughts as you set out on a journey through the 2020s and years that will prove formative for all of you.
In the 2020s you will be presented with some amazing opportunities and experiences, but you are also susceptible to being manipulated by powerful information forces. They will tell you, among other things, that faith in God is for the uneducated, that having pride in your country is racist, that some magical government program is going to care for your every need, and that things like gender or established values are completely malleable.
Those people are wrong-headed and seek to control you.
Remember that the two-dimensional isn’t as exciting or interesting as the real thing. In the 2020s, virtual reality technology in its various forms will likely tempt you. These efforts to divorce people from the real world are as dangerous as mind-altering drugs. Your struggles in life make your stronger. Your challenge is to learn from adversity and grow from it. Alternate realities and digitally-created experiences will never be as fantastic as the real world.
Digital relationships aren’t real. True, looking someone in the eye and facing them is hard. Dealing with their emotions is hard. But that’s part of life’s great adventure. It’s one of the great human challenges. It also makes living interesting and exciting. It helps you grow emotionally and spiritually.
Our digital age has left so many isolated, angry and alone. Human beings were meant to live in community. We were meant to go to live events, to be with each other, to feed off each other’s energy, to learn from each other. Phones, tablets, and flat-screen televisions can’t truly connect you with others.
In the 2020s, aspire to be present for people physically and emotionally. Liking a photo on Instagram doesn’t count. Being present for friends, family, and eventually coworkers will help make you a leader and a stronger person. It will give you the wonderful experience of making someone feel special. It will help you as much as it will help them. Be there with a hug, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a shoulder to cry on and you will have served Creation with distinction.
This decade, learn to communicate well. Schools and tech companies might care less if you can articulate your ideas verbally, but you cannot be successful without mastering language and the ability to present your ideas through both well-written and well-spoken words. The 2010s taught us that a society built on 240 characters or less can be devoid of deep meaning, creativity, and nuance. It has made the world colder.
Don’t be influenced by digital mobs. In the 2010s social media platforms that were supposed to give more people voice and empower online communities served to bring out the very worst of human nature. Quickly devolving into little more than attention-grabbing insults, misinformation, and hate, social platforms have shown the damage the idolatry of exposure and the false power technology can have on decent people. Your digital world has also given an outsized voice to people who hate, those who live to tear down others and people who espouse anti-American values. Always remember those people are a very small minority. They should not define your values.
Protect your privacy. Government and corporations will slyly try to invade your personal lives at every turn. Businesses will do it for money. Government will do it for power. Media and technology companies will do it to influence you. You cannot be truly free if you don’t have privacy. Be responsible and work to protect it.
There’s no such thing as free. I suspect that you will hear this a lot in the 2020s. Leftist politicians will promise you free stuff to buy your loyalty and try to turn you away from America’s formula for greatness. ‘Free’ is a fairy tale. It doesn’t exist. You will always pay and if government is behind the scheme, you will pay more than you should. History has proven this decisively. That will not change. Anyone who promises you something for nothing is likely lying to you.
Have faith. In the 2010s, suicide rates skyrocketed, particularly among young people. The media won’t make the correlation between that human tragedy, the crisis content they drive every day, and the decline in religious belief. Having faith in God, in your country, and in yourself is the foundation of a happy life. You will find people in your travels who have these things and are positive, fulfilled people despite having little in the way of material wealth. That is the power of faith and the power of God in their lives.
Regardless of what the press, supposedly enlightened intellectuals, and others tell you, God is the most powerful force in your life. He will make you resilient and give you peace during good times and your inevitable challenges. You may be ridiculed for this faith. The Holy Spirit will give you strength.
Think big. You are blessed to live in this exceptional country that, since its inception, has been a guidepost for the development and advancement of humankind. It’s not a perfect country. Be bothered by injustices you see and work in a positive way to advance solutions that truly empower people, not make them more dependent on government.
Never doubt that this nation has greater potential than any other to be a continuing force for good. You are not guaranteed success, but with vision, confidence, and hard work, you can accomplish anything.
Finally, know that I love you and nothing will ever change that. Have an amazing decade kids — and God Bless You.
Tom Basile has been part of the American political landscape from Presidential campaigns to local politics. He served in the Bush Administration from 2001-2004, as Executive Director of the NYS Republican Party and has held a range of senior-level communications roles in and out of government. Basile's critically-acclaimed book, "Tough Sell: Fighting the Media War in Iraq" (Foreword by Amb. John R. Bolton), chronicles his time in Baghdad fighting media bias and driving fairer coverage of the Iraq war. In 2011, he was featured in Time Magazine's Person of the Year spread about political activism around the world. Basile is an adjunct professor at Fordham University, a local elected official and runs a New York-based strategic communications firm. He is a member of the New York Bar and sits on a number of academic and philanthropic advisory boards. Learn more about him at TomBasile.com or follow him on Twitter @Tom_Basile. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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