Miami millennials
Credit: Adam DelGiudice/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

About 15 years ago, Boomers and Gen Xers began eyeing my generation with a mix of confusion, exasperation, and more than a hint of panic. Simultaneously, those born between 1980 and 1994 took a solid look at how their elders generally did things and decided, “No thanks, we’ll pass.” The result was the greatest homicidal literary subgenre ever set to paper: Millennials Killing Things.

We killed A LOT of things. Millennials were on a rampage! The list of our victims included, but certainly wasn’t limited to:

  • Cruises
  • Casual dining
  • Big beer companies
  • Department stores
  • Fast food
  • Light yogurt
  • Packaged food

Firstly, all the above suck. May their corpses remain dead and buried. Secondly—and you’ll have to follow some bloodthirsty logic here—they deserved to die. They remained complacent, didn’t innovate, and subsequently lost their appeal to superior alternatives. Or maybe Millennials are simply murderous psychopaths. Who knows??

That’s the setup. Here’s the payoff.

As a born and raised Miamian, there’s another steaming pile of legacy shit my forbearers want to saddle onto my generation: city politics. For three decades, I watched our elected leaders gleefully snub marginalized communities, damage our environment, ignore climate change, fight public transit, raise rents, enable police brutality, enrich their families, and essentially gentrify the whole damn county for the benefit of a few moneyed developers, Boligarchs, and any other Fulano Menganos looking to launder ill-gotten gains through our burgeoning skyline. Rather than fix problems, they feuded, pilfered, and hunted secret Communist conspiracies. Miami’s political system, driven almost exclusively by Boomers and Gen Xers, utterly failed its constituents. It’s time for Millennials to do what they do best, and put it in the ground.

My generation bears and will continue to shoulder the damage wrought by Miami’s older political leaders. We can barely afford rent, much less buy a house. If and when we do, our families will be faced with rising seas, failing septic tanks, massive hurricanes, and depreciating property values our antecedents blithely ignored. None of this, of course, will be Boomers’ problems. They’ll be as gone as Blockbuster by the time Millennials feel the worst effects.

The solution? Readers of my past work will have guessed by now. Vote, dammit! And not just in federal and state elections. The president isn’t going to repave your street or add an extra bus line around the block. That work is done by municipal and county commissioners and mayors. And, after you vote, keep up the pressure. Keep advocating, keep protesting, keep showing up at their offices, keep being a giant pain in the ass until your problems are addressed. Keep politicians worried about keeping their jobs to keep them honest. If they don’t address your issues, drop them like JC Penny.

Lastly—now this is important, so pay attention—run for office. Most deadlines for 2020 have passed, but the next election cycle begins just as the last one ends. Craft a platform, build your local network, sound out donors, and plug into larger political organizations. You don’t have to run for Senate just yet. Run for your local commission or school board. Shit, run for alligator catcher (we don’t have elected dog catchers in South Florida). And in case you worry about being unqualified, I assure you our current batch of politicians are the least qualified you could possibly assemble.

Millennials no longer, and never did, fit the lazy Boomer trope of self-entitled slackers living in our parents’ basement (again, we don’t have basements in South Florida). By 2025, we will comprise 75% of the workforce. We have real, collective financial and political power. More importantly, we have the track record of killing things that no longer suit us. It’s time to join like-minded Boomer, Gen X, and Gen Z cohorts, and put Miami’s obsolete political system away for good.

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Andrew OtazoAndrew Otazo

'Miami Creation Myth' author Andrew Otazo has advised officials on Cuba policy, worked for the Mexican president, fired a tank, and ran with 30lbs of trash.

Check out the first free chapter of Andrew’s upcoming book here.


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