Straight Talk

Youth express their hopes, dreams for the coming year

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Dear Readers: I’m thrilled to present this year’s youthful hopes and dreams for 2009. The concept “as within, so without” is grasped clearly by this generation. Tolerance, environmentalism, and truth prevailing over deception, remain huge themes for survival, and, compared to last year, optimism and activism are on the rise. Anne, 15, Sacramento: I wish there was less meanness in the world, that the homeless had homes, the hungry had food. I also wish we would accept each other and expand our perspectives by getting to know those different than us. Rose, 14, Fair Oaks: I wish people didn’t spend a quarter of their life on TV and video games — then, we’d be more active and make the world a better place. We need to deal with global warming. There are more cars than people! I also wish you could buy “quick” healthy food. If more people ate organic, prices would drop. Sawyer, 17, Fair Oaks: People need to become physically fit. Abusing your body with junk food and inactivity reduces your chances of being successful. Diana, 15, Folsom: I wish there was less teasing, less sarcasm, and that boys at my school would stop playing video games. I also wish body image wasn’t such an issue. Personalities are ruined over body fat — and you don’t need to be fat to think you are. Lennon, 22, Fair Oaks: Materialism sucks, chemicals suck, gas sucks. Each is killing us. Instead of “fixing” our economy, it needs replacing. And could we please slow down? We create myriad “time-saving” gadgets, only to cram more work into the day. Finally, could we all be more accepting? Or do we need to erase religion first? Graham, 15, Fair Oaks: I hope people become more accepting of other lifestyles and cultures and strive to understand, rather than fight each other. Liva, 19, Hudson, N.Y.: I hope people find peace within themselves, and instead of hungering for “more, different, better”, we enjoy what we have. Jack, 18, Fair Oaks: I got my wish for a new president. Now I hope Obama will refocus Middle Eastern policy toward finding Bin Laden instead of forcing democracy on uninterested populations. Betsy, 20, Durham N.H.: A lot of friends are overseas in the military. My wish is to end this war and bring them home safely. Charles, 23, Redding: Every one of my friends (college graduates, grad students, and professionals) smokes weed. The “war on marijuana” is couched in moral/religious terms, with scientific truth discredited or ignored. Could we stop wasting money policing this so-called “morality”? (Please watch the documentary Grass: History of Marijuana.) And could we repeal Prop 8 and let gays marry? Ashley, 21, Auburn: I wish people would be more honest — and not get so offended or hurt by the spoken truth. Emily, 16, Sacramento: I wish for humane treatment of animals. I used to rally against horse slaughter, but eliminating slaughterhouses resulted in unwanted, neglected horses. I also campaigned against carriage rides for city tourists because horses were kept in horrid conditions. In both cases, economic needs were met with cruel treatment of animals. But slaughterhouses could kill horses humanely, carriage horses could be kept humanely, then supply and demand of horse meat, entertainment, jobs, and horses’ well-being would even out.  Elise, 17, Fair Oaks: I wish everyone would feel the love within their hearts and care for each other. From Megan, 19, Boston Mass.: Youth really did elect Obama; it was amazing to see thousands celebrating in Boston. We need to work together, lifting personal blocks, letting the past guide, but not dictate us, and create the future we want. Rachel, 17, Fair Oaks: I thought about wishing for knowledge or compassion, but first we need universal understanding. This year, may a new understanding wash over us all. Write to Straight Talk at or PO Box 963, Fair Oaks CA 95628.