• author
    • Maya Spier Stiles North

      Columnist, Copy Editor
    • February 19, 2018 in Columnists

    A reckoning is coming and the young folk will bring it

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
    Margaret Mead

    One of the youth who will lead us home (Photo credit NBCNews)

    A reckoning is coming. I can feel it.

    At first, I could not see that it was possible. Our nation was betrayed by gerrymandering, Russian interference, the machinations of a sociopathic Republican party, the electoral college and the desperate credulity of an easily gulled portion of the population — really, in any order of precedence. How could I believe when we went from a marvelous, if only human, president and his equally marvelous wife to this bloated orange criminal so lacking in any sort of moral substance that he was schtupping a porn star when his youngest was just a baby?

    How could I hope when millions and millions of US citizens, many, if not most, of whom espoused the most devout of Christianity were given ample and incontrovertible evidence of who he was and chose to give it a pass? (From all of us #MeToo people and any others harmed by this orange pile of gelatinous rot and his ilk — a hearty fuck you for that one.)

    It’s agonizingly ironic that my greatest hope has arisen out of such a searing tragedy.

    The teenagers have woken up and in the worst way imaginable. The Parkland slaughter was the ravagement that made these young people say “ENOUGH!”

    They are exactly what we need.

    They are roaring.
    They are fearlessly calling out the guilty with enviable force and honesty.
    They are whipping up our flagging energy for this fight.
    And — they either are or will be old enough to vote.

    Teenagers don’t sit passively, protesting but not acting because they’ve been beaten down by the world and their own failures. It is their very nature not to believe the word “can’t.” That’s why the military has been sending kids to war for millennia. A grownup will say “I do that, they’re going to kill me!”

    A teenager has no sense that bad things can happen to them, too — and if their lives are not disrupted by horror, they won’t for years. It’s a legitimate life stage, and they aren’t there yet — it comes between the ages of 28 and 32. A teenage soldier will charge up a hill with bullets flying, because they don’t yet know they’re mortal. This is both a fragility and a powerful, powerful strength.

    A teenager will see a crucial issue and, having no sense that they are just an ordinary mortal, will say — “What the hell? We’re going to change this and change it now.”

    A grownup will say, “That’ll never work,” and so they simply do not try.

    A teenager will make it happen. How old do you think most of the protesters of the Vietnam War actually were? Exactly! And what did they do? They stopped it.

    They had a lot of help from grownups, mind you — mostly because the kids got the grownups all fired up. Not that the grownups did not care. They just didn’t have that vesuvial fire and dauntless determination that is a crucial driver. They had the experience, the belief and dedication. They just didn’t have the energy. Teenagers have energy to burn, enthusiasm and absolute faith that they can get done what they set out to do. Nature designed them this way so they would be able to forge their new lives as adults, sometimes against considerable odds. It’s exactly what this world needs right now.

    So please, teenagers, help us torpid grownups get a move on. Fire us up with your passion. Get our tears flowing and help us turn our rage into the action you are all so very good at.

    We cannot do this without you.





      • David Stoerker

      • February 20, 2018 at 12:13 pm
      • Reply

      I’m 63 and I’m with you

        • Maya Spier Stiles North

        • February 20, 2018 at 1:05 pm
        • Reply

        You are just what we need!

      • Terri Connett

      • February 20, 2018 at 1:31 pm
      • Reply

      Oh Maya! You hit a homerun here. I’m with you 100%. I was a teen/young adult in the 70s and experienced the Vietnam protest firsthand. I had no hope after nothing was done post Sandy Hook. I have a glimmer of it now. Great piece!

        • Maya Spier Stiles North

        • February 20, 2018 at 10:49 pm
        • Reply

        Thank you, love. We are pretty much the same age, so yeah. Even those of us who were just high school students were being firebrands — we fought as much as we could, given our world was more restricted than it would have been if we’d been in college. The kids really don’t have all the hesitancies that we do — they are crucial to getting us moving. Now we need to get out there and march with them, but I feel strongly that we need to let them speak for themselves rather than take over, as grownups tend to do. <3

      • Vatrena King

      • February 21, 2018 at 7:03 pm
      • Reply

      Yes! Teenagers!! – Young people. When they rock the boat… they really rock it hard. And they need (with our help) to tip this one the heck over!!

        • Maya North

        • February 21, 2018 at 8:17 pm
        • Reply

        They sure do. They don’t waffle or be deterred. They don’t allow crap excuses, they can’t be buffaloed and they have HAD it. I am so sad about why but I am so proud of them. ❤

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