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.
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.