Sammy Sarzoza of St. Paul says he's proud to be an American. "I love this country, it's the greatest country in the world. The fact that I was born in America, puts me a leg up over 99% of everyone else in the world. I feel lucky and blessed to be an American."
That introduction makes the punch that follows hurt even more. He's pessimistic about the future. And not just in the short term.
"It's not going to change tomorrow...or even in the next 10 years," he told me during my stop at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
He didn't stop there.
"It's going to take a lot of time; it might take 20 or 30 years."
"It might even take another generation," he said.
No matter. He's willing to put in his time, he said. Just like the parents of babyboomers struggled during the Great Depression on their behalf.
"If we have to struggle to make it better for them, that's the way it's going to have to be," he said.
Sarzoza is a moviemaker; he's enrolled in the cinema program, which he says is "one of the best in the country." He's looking for a career producing films, screenwriting, working with lighting, and telling "American stories," as he calls them.
"The new president can fix a little bit but he can't fix all of it. I'm willing to make art forms that are on the cusp of hope," he said, pointing out that the violent movies of recent years "reflected the time we were living in. I'm willing to put forward good stories."
It might be the perfect job for his generation. There's very little job security. "It's the artist lifestyle. You have to be a bit of a Bohemian so I try to keep myself with as few strings as possible and be ready to go at the drop of a hat."