Henry Rollins' Letter to a Young American (Pt. 2)

Musician, Writer, and Spoken-word Artist
Henry Rollins advises the youth to take a heroic stance in these turbulent times.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Henry Rollins: We live in very interesting times and, as a young person going into a very turbulent and fragile economy that is going to get better--it’s going to take awhile.--, going into an employment environment that looks pretty scary, it is easy to lose your moral compass, your decency, your sense of civility and your sense of community very easy.  Things in traffic make you mad.  People are getting a little desperate.  They might not show their best elements to you.  You must never lower yourself to being a person you don’t like.  

There is no better time than now to have a moral and civic backbone, to have a moral and civic true north.  This is a tremendous opportunity for you, a young person, to be heroic, to be morally upstanding, to be helpful, almost Boy Scout like, presidential, to be altruistic. 

Weakness is what brings ignorance, cheapness, racism, homophobia, desperation, cruelty, brutality, all these things that will keep a society chained to the ground, one foot nailed to the floor.  It’s by being strong in the face of all of that, not lowering yourself to it, that’s how you lead.  That’s how you liberate others and maintain freedom.  You don’t have to beat your chest.  You don’t have to wave a flag, but to maintain a high level of decency 

And it sounds like I'm a cranky old man, like something you want to rebel against, but really think about what I'm saying.  I think I'm right about this.  When you look at what real desperation and ignorance looks like, when you have to run from it, like literally run from it, you don’t want to be that.  You want to be that which leads others out of that.

And now more than ever is the time to show these great qualities, to extol these great qualities and to embody these great qualities, which you have.  Now it’s time to magnify them, personify them and inspire others with them And there’s never been a time where they are needed more than right now.  

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd