Originally posted from http://www.tomufert.com
THESE ARE IMAGES OF HOW POLITICS AFFECTS YOUNG AMERICANS!
Many years ago when I was still in college, a local public high school invited me to give a series of class presentations entitled “How Does History and Politics Affect Me?” Over the years this same question continues to plague our nation’s young people. Perhaps even more so today, the question arises “Why should I give a damn?” Washington dysfunction, partisan polarization, lack luster economic prospects for their age demographic and an endless parade of crises feed the generational angst that they have no power to change what seems to be a hopeless future. There is no doubt that the images above strike a chord in the hearts and minds of young people today…”Why bother—look at what happens to people our age who try to make a difference!”
With today’s 24 hour news cycle and a boundless access to the internet, the youth of today are literally bombarded by images of what’s wrong with the world. Compounding that narrative of a world gone completely to “hell in a hand basket,” there is another void of credible heroes that they can look up to for guidance, wisdom and a vision that promises a better tomorrow they want to part of. Every promise of a better tomorrow seems like a load of BS as far as they’re concerned. Claims that a good education combined with hard work fall dramatically short in the face of rising costs for that education and fewer decent paying jobs that offer a reasonable shot at achieving the “American Dream” they’ve been promised. Their American Dream has truly become the “American Scream!”
THIS IS WHAT AMERICA’S KIDS SEE TODAY and IT’S OUR FAULT BECAUSE WE GIVE THEM NO REASON TO THINK OTHERWISE!
Our leaders squabble rather than lead, our society stresses it’s more important “to yearn to earn than yearn to learn,” and we’ve shifted the burden of properly raising our children so many times between home/school/the village that no one has any sense of personal responsibility to address the hopes and fears of an increasingly soulless generation. Everyone plays the blame game…it’s the parent’s fault; it’s the teacher’s fault; it’s the politician’s fault. Young people today are left to flounder on their own. IT’S ALL OUR FAULTS!
While we’re so busy trying to blame someone else, the lambs fall prey to wolves in sheep’s clothing like ISIS, Al Qaeda, white supremacists, etc… After over a decade of one school shooting after another, young men and women being sent off to war fighting for what we taught them to believe in there is an endless plethora of excuses that completely fails to meet their needs for an answer to the big question…WHY?
Yet we sit in wonder and amazement that young people today turn to the escapism technology provides them through cell phones, Ipads, video games and the increasingly dehumanizing ability to lash out in ways they mistakenly think is anonymity. Technology has made the pain and drudgery of using their hearts and minds to feel or truly experience life’s lessons a simple act of futility. In our noble or valiant crusade to make life easier on future generations, we’ve deprived them of their humanity by providing easy ways out.
Fallacies like every child’s a winner, or the world owes you something, or failing to teach them that everything has consequences sets everyone of them up for the cold hard truth that life isn’t easy. The day will definitely come that knocks them on their butts and rocks their world. Then we are totally surprised when they react negatively if not violently to the reality of a life that we lied about all along by giving them a false sense of security. We did not prepare them and arm them with the tools they need emotionally, mentally and psychologically to cope.
There is always hope. Like every generation before, human beings have the awesome capacity to learn from their mistakes and/or the inevitable lessons life throws their way. It’s basic evolution…you either learn and adapt or you perish. Today’s generation of task masters has the opportunity to reverse the trend before our self-inflicted dependency on technology overtakes us and becomes our master rather than our partner.
What may you ask has all of this got to do with politics and why young people should give a damn? It’s simple. The youth of today are screaming for proper guidance and direction. They are searching in vain for answers and solutions that demonstrate they have a stake in the future and one that isn’t completely doomed to failure. They need to be shown that the only road to a better future depends on them. Rather than succumbing to the self-defeatist mind set our generation has allowed to grow and blossom because we’ve dropped the ball, young people have to be shown that the future really is up to them. They can have a real voice on their own future through politics.
Survivors and champions for good like Malala Yousaf Zai refuse to accept the present as the sole determination of their future. Her young voice has been heard around the world and proves that young people do make a difference! If the generation of yesterday or today fails to live up to the promise they’ve made to tomorrow, then it is up to young people to make their own future. One quote I heard recently fits…”Find what you believe in. Plant your feet and stand for something!” Violence is not the answer for change, it’s the last resort of those who have lost all hope. As long as you’re alive today there is always hope for tomorrow.
NEVER LET ANYONE STEAL YOUR HOPE!