Thoughts on how to (really) fix this country

This piece originally appeared on Medium

On Thursday night I hit a weird emotional point. Scrolling through Twitter earlier that day, I was done. The headlines were negative, the tweets were void of respect, and I started to realize the kind of system I have allowed myself to get involved with.

In 11th grade, I had a government teacher who used to be a Houston police officer. He spent years arresting the worst of society like criminals, druggies, and abusers. He eventually got tired of only seeing the negative side of society so he became a teacher because he wanted to be around good kids who are just trying to learn.

That story inspires me because it’s a situation that I now find myself understanding. Granted, I’m not dealing with violent criminals on the daily, but I and many of my fellow politicos have to deal with a level of tension and frustration that I think is bringing this country to the brink.

I became obsessed with politics when I was 13. The 2008 election was in full swing and my eye balls were glued to the television. I remember watching the debates, learning about the parties, and even considering a future run for office (oh sweet, young naivety).

Since then, I have become more involved through my occasional activism, my writing, my commentary on my podcast, and my hobby of making fun of politicians and policies from both parties (I consider myself an equal-opportunity H8er).

But as I’ve become more involved, my eyes have been opened wider and wider by what is going on in this country and world. Personal politics aside, I believe we’ve lost our ability to be respectful, compassionate, and understanding of each other.

I like to believe that people are inherently good, but that is a belief that is hard to maintain in politics.

If you’re an active conservative, you’re surrounded by a dangerous hatred for the left. If you’re an active liberal, you are exposed to a dangerous hatred for the right. And if you’re an independent, well, you probably hate both sides. I’ve heard Republicans tell me that democrats are pieces of crap who worship Satan. And I’ve heard Democrats tell me that Republicans are a waste of space and should be put in a mental hospital. Can you feel the love?

Because of the state of politics today, I have (almost completely) burned out.

Talk to my friends and you’ll discover that I’ve been plotting some changes. On the extreme side, I think I could maybe move to the UK for a year or so. On the lesser extreme side, I’ve contemplated scaling back my involvement in media.

As I wrote in my cover story for OUTSET, the problems that we face as a country is not a liberal or conservative issues. The problems we face as a country were created, and continue to be created, by both sides.

The root of our problems is that we are more focused on our own agendas than we are on our uniting American principles.

On my side, Team Conservative™, we like to lay claim to “traditional American values.” Many conservatives believe that our founders would have been Republicans (I’ve heard it said many times). But our American principles are not the property of any one party or ideology — they belong to all of us.

Principles over Agendas

Principles like individual liberty, equality, government for and by the people, American exceptionalism, and the rule of law belong to Americans of all races, genders, sexualities, religious beliefs, and backgrounds.

Democrats are throwing away American principles for a liberal agenda.

Republicans are throwing away American principles for a conservative agenda.

I refuse to throw away American principles in favor of an agenda.

At this time in our country’s history, albeit the history of the world, a significant change has to happen that shifts our energy away from our own agendas and towards an agenda of mutual respect, understanding, and liberty, for all. If that change does not happen, America and its fellow nations of the world will follow the path of all other great civilizations.

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Latest-Projects

Thoughts on My Latest Projects

In the past two weeks, I have dived into two different ventures. One of them, a very smart friend of mine helped start. The other, I’ve been involved with for a long time, but decided it needed a different focus.

So let’s get right into the details…

Rockstar Café

Website | Twitter | Facebook

When my friend Jake Jardine approached me about becoming involved in the Rockstar community, I wasn’t exactly sure what he had in mine. But I’ve known Jake for a while now and I know that he is not one to waste his or anyone else’s time. He’s committed to what he does, and that’s rare.

So when he told me that he wanted me to become a “Rockstar,” I was excited… Still not exactly sure on what he meant, but I was down with the idea nonetheless.

As a Rockstar, I will be someone who aspiring entrepreneurs and world-changers can go to for help with turning their ideas into a successful venture. (No pressure or anything!)

There are currently 20 other Rockstars besides me, all of them much more impressive than I am. But what I love most about this community, and what I told Jake I wish I had when I was starting out, is that it provides a place where young individuals can go to find help with their ideas. Whether that means one-on-one mentoring or just helping them get connected to the right people, it’s a noble idea.

If you want to check out my profile and interview on their website, click here.

ReactrMedia

Website | Twitter | Facebook

I started this company in 2011 (under a different name that I’d rather not say) as a way to organize all of my online ventures under one name. I wanted it act as an umbrella company, if you will. And since then, it’s pretty much stayed that way – as a name that I do all of my official business under (OUTSET, for example, is technically a “property” of Reactr)

But in the past year or so, I have begun to realize that my true passion is creative work – branding, website design, PR, social media marketing, etc.

That is why this past week I decided to rebrand and essentially relaunch Reactr in hopes of working with people, organizations, and campaigns and helping them with their brand development and digital communications strategy.

If you know someone who might be interested in working with me, let me know!

 

So those are my two latest projects. I hope you give them some love and support!

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Journalism-Students

Thoughts on Why (Most) Journalism Majors Are in Huge Trouble

Every time I drive to and from Fort Worth on I-30, I always pass by the KTVT local CBS affiliate studios. It’s hard to miss, with it’s large weather antenna (I’m guessing that what it is). But today, while driving back home, I took a longer look at the studio than I usually would, and a couple of thoughts came up.

The studio itself, like many studios, is easily somewhere between 50,000 – 100,000 square feet. Combine that with their parking lot full of news crew and satellite trucks and you have a news operation that has a lot of resources behind it.

In a news studio, there are hundreds of titles: on-air anchors, producers, script writers, directors, teleprompter operators, etc. Hundreds of people just to deliver a single news broadcast. Think of how many man hours are used to produce on edition of the 5 o’clock news. How much money is being spent every day to pay these people? How much money is spent on keeping the news trucks operational?

I don’t know the numbers, but I do know one thing for sure: traditional news organizations are at a major disadvantage in the new age of journalism, and most universities are not preparing their students to adequately maneuver this ever-changing field.

In my university’s journalism program, like many journalism programs, the emphasis is still put on teaching traditional journalism, which is fine… if traditional journalism (i.e. newspaper, television, and radio) were important. The fact is, they aren’t.

I cannot tell you how long it has been since I watched a news show, read a paper, or even listened to news on the radio. And the numbers back me up – hardly anyone in my generation is either. We get our news from social sources like Facebook, Twitter. And even newer sources like Periscope, Meerkat, Vine, and Instagram are capturing the attention of younger audiences and turning everyday citizens into journalists.

Citizen journalists scare the hell out of newspapers, television stations, and radio stations.

Now, before a traditional news source can even get one of their reporters on the scene, the story is already being told online, primarily through apps on people’s phones.

People’s phones have become their primary screen, and it’s real estate that traditional media sources, as much as they try, cannot break into.

Why would a millennial tune into the 5 o’clock news, where they have to deal with commercials, stories they don’t care about, and the stuffiness of the anchors and reporters, when they can check their phone, successfully avoiding the BS

The only thing that traditional media provides is total BS

So back to the original topic… Why are (most) journalism students in big trouble?

Because they aren’t being trained in a way that will allow them to survive in the new era of journalism.

If you’re a journalism student, you NEED to learn how to…

  • Write compelling stories, in both long-form and short-form
  • Shoot and edit video
  • Record and edit audio
  • Use social media & broadcasting apps**

** Just a quick side note: There is a HUGE myth out there that all young people just automatically know how to use social media because they grew up with it. Not true. I know plenty of young people who absolutely suck at social media. And I know a lot of old people with white hair who are awesome at it. So when I say journalism students should learn to use social media, I really mean LEARN how to use them effectively. If you suck at social media, learn how to get better. Don’t tell yourself that you can survive without it, because you cannot.

journalism-school

The problem lies with journalism schools. They continue to hire professors who know a lot about reporting for traditional media, but not much about newer forms of reporting. Those teachers waste your money as a journalism student. But ultimately, they waste your time.

It’s one of the reasons why Greg Gutfeld from FOX News told me not to go to journalism school. And it’s one of the reasons why I’m majoring in Political Science along with Journalism.

Journalism schools need to be fixed. But in the meantime, you, as a journalism student, have to learn what they won’t teach you.

tl;dr: If you are a journalism student, be prepared to learn how to do everything from writing, to video and audio, and social media promotion. If you don’t, you will not survive in the new era of journalism.

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Episode 23: The BIG Announcement

After a three-week break, I’m back this week with updates on my recent travels, details on what I did at CPAC, and my no-spoilers thoughts on House of Cards season 3. I also talk about the Hillary Clinton email scandal, a new bill that would ban lawmakers from traveling first class, the “embarrassing” student government election at the University of Texas, and a controversial photo including an 8-day-old baby and an American flag.

Support the show:

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sean hannity

All of my #CPAC2015 Interviews: Sean Hannity, Charlie Kirk, Erik Telford, and More!

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining thousands of other conservatives in Washington, D.C. for CPAC 2015, the largest annual gathering of conservative politicians and activists. I also had the opportunity to interview a bunch of really incredible and smart people.

My original plan was to combine all of the interviews I did into one, super podcast episode. But due to some technical challenges, I have decided linking to them would be the most efficient and timely way of sharing them.

Here are the interviews I did with the 405 Media:

I also interviewed a lot of folks over at the Turning Point USA radio booth. I will update this post with those links as soon as I get them!

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Episode 22: Radical Islam, ISIS, and the Texas Islamic Tribunal [W/ Guest Stephanie Conway]

On episode 22, I am joined by Stephanie Conway of Turning Point USA and NGC Media. She’s my go-to Middle East expert and this week I ask her about the current status of ISIS, how it got so big, and what its end goal is. We also discuss the Islamic Tribunal, an organization wishing to establish Sharia Law in Texas.

Support the show:

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Episode 21: Suspensions, Departures, and More [W/ Guest Holly Norris]

This week I’m joined by my friend, Holly Norris, and we talk about everything from Brian Williams’ six-month suspension to Jon Stewart’s sudden departure from The Daily Show. We then get into Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet. Ending this episode, we talked a little about 50 Shades of Grey and the unhealthy relationships it encourages.

Support the show:

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Site-featured

Episode 20: Terrorists Should Smoke Weed

This week’s episode is brighter and more entertaining than last week’s. I talk about the attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris and how to SOLVE the issues of terrorism. I also talk about Obama’s new free community college plan.

I didn’t mention any sponsors in this week’s show, but if you’d like to support the show, please check out these partners:

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chaplin-speech

LISTEN: The Speech, by Charlie Chaplin, Adapted by Kristian Cruz

On episode 19 of my podcast, I read an adaptation of Charlie Chaplin’s speech in The Dictator (1940) that Kristian Cruz did to fit our modern day situation.

You can read it on RedMillennial: redmillennial.com/2014/12/31/the-speech/

Listen:

Transcript:

I don’t want to be a civil leader. That’s not my goal. I don’t want to rule or manipulate anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible–Hispanic, black, and white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Hate has poisoned men’s souls and divided the nation, goose-stepping us into misery and division. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. The media that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than hate, we need our humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

Social media and the internet has brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, for universal brotherhood, and for the unity of us all. Even now my writing can reach millions throughout the world–millions of despairing men, women, and little children–victims of a system that makes men divide and hate others.

To those who can read this, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of hate, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and leaders die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Americans! Don’t give yourselves to so-called leaders–men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, and use you as a pawn. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men–evil men with evil minds and evil hearts! You are not evil. You are not cattle. You are Americans. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate. Only the unloved hate–the unloved and the unnatural. Americans, don’t fight for division. Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St. Luke, it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man”–not one man nor a group of men, but in all men, in you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, a wonderful adventure.

In the name of democracy, let us use that power–let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world–a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, evil has risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!

Civil leaders free themselves but they enslave the people. Now, let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national division, to do away with greed, hate, and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Americans, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Read it on RedMillennial

 

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