Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Humbled by the Teens

Emma Gonzalez, via Getty Images
The Parkland kids who started the #NeverAgain movement are simply amazing. They're in high school, so it's inevitable one or more of them will do something dumb, or has already done and we don't know it yet; but, that they've owned so many conservative (biological) adults online & in person, and seem to be making a real difference in the battle against the NRA is beyond commendable. It's positively life-affirming. In an age where it seems like the grown-ups are determined to render the Earth uninhabitable in order to make a few criminally wealthy families even wealthier, the idea that the teens might, just might, collectively tell the olds to fuck off and seize the levers of power for themselves is heartening.

Those kids have suffered more, and have accomplished more, at or by 18, than most of us whitebread blogging lefties have at 48. It's humbling. (I don't mean to disparage those of you who've organized to bring about change. I know you're out there. There's just so many more online opinion-havers who basically have day jobs, families, watch too much TV, read too many easy books, and have attended but never instigated a march. As a result, our greatest legacy in the political sphere is a string of votes for the lesser evil ... and not much else.)

When I think back on what a huge dumbass I was in high school, it makes me all the more proud of these kids. Man, I was so fucking dumb. Never dumb enough to identify as or vote Republican, mind you, but dumb enough that as late as the year 2000, almost 30 years old(!), after reading a glowing book review in the WSJ (ignored that red flag) by an author I was unfamiliar with, I posted perhaps the stupidest thing I'd ever posted, in my already long history of posting half-baked takes. To this day I'm so mortified that, whenever I see that author (who is still making a living, despite a felony conviction, by braying racist takes) cross my feed, I want to dig a hole and bury myself in it. 

The young folks out there doing work for BLM, they're the real deal. The Parkland kids, they're heroes, too. Can they bring an end to capitalism? Well, to paraphrase LeGuin, the divine right of kings once looked to be impossible to overthrow. It may be harder to imagine the end of capitalism, but if this upcoming generation can't, it's only going to get easier to imagine capitalism being the end of us.

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