Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Statement to America's Youth-- a Call to Progressive Action

 The definition of insanity- doing the same old shit over and over again and expecting different results.

"Our answer is the world's hope; it is to rely on youth. The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement of danger. It demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease." - Robert F. Kennedy 

After the last disaster of an election, many of us have been wondering where we should go from here. Do we stand by the progressive policies and ideals we've held on to for so long, pushing our President and Congress for the reforms we so desperately desire? Or do we give in to compromise and moderate thought, realizing that the fight has just grown that much more difficult, & that the only way to even get minor changes accomplished may be to attempt to find a bipartisan agreement (by pandering to extremists who believe that refusing to work/compromise is the ultimate form of patriotism)?

After the Rally to Restore Sanity, I had expressed my disappointment in Stewart's message to America... And as I, and other critics, continued to discuss and reflect on that weekend, and the state of our "Union," I realized that the answer I was looking for was very clear.

It may very well be time for a "revolution" stretching far beyond the ordinary realm of "sanity." Our generation has already faced so much adversity, and if things continue on this path, it is possible that we can and will find ourselves in an America even more hostile to our worldview-- at which point, "sanity" is an illusion. Or rather, a delusion. I'm not saying that we have to give up on civility. Quite the contrary-- I'm saying that in order to restore civility on a national level, we as progressives need to rethink how we participate in the political/democratic process, and that includes how we respond to our bullies. I hereby propose that we should find a way to restore youth to democracy. Literally.

We grew up during the September 11th attacks; amongst never-ending war and global conflict; with a society that continues to deny both human and constitutionally protected rights to minorities purely on the basis of hatred, fear and religion; and with an economy in shambles. We as a generation are overwhelmingly more progressive and accepting than our parents and our grandparents-- just like every generation tends to be. Yet we see the same mistakes played over every time—older generations ignore us. And we are growing increasingly frustrated with the complete lack of progress on issues that matter to us. We were promised so much, and have gotten so little. Unemployment among our age group alone is actually the highest it has ever been, holding steady at almost 20%. However, most of us do not have enough experience to get the few jobs that have been available. Nor do we even qualify to get unemployment benefits, despite the fact that, like our parents, we do have bills and responsibilities as well. We were tossed out from college into the harshest job market faced since the Great Depression, with little to look forward to. We are voters, we are citizens, yet for the vast majority of law passed in this country, we are simply caught in the crossfire between our warring parents. Our rights as citizens are ignored in favor of maintaining the status quo, or bashing the other side's bad politics. It's frustrating to see that we as a generation are already so much more mature than these so-called "change-makers" in Congress. Grow up already!

 I don't want to get too far into this, because there is a very special message from Storyteller Knight to follow and I want to let it speak for itself; but this is a massive problem we face-- we need to mobilize as a demographic. We are a very powerful group I've had quite enough of the "adults" in this country acting like children and ignoring the fact that . We are old enough to think for ourselves now, and it's about time we have someone to actually represent us in Congress. So this is a call to peaceful arms. I'm sick and tired of them saying it's "their country" and "their future." This is OUR time. The future belongs to us, their children. Yet too often we are pushed aside and forgotten, treated as mere "children."

We as a collective group have been grossly underestimated. Have they forgotten already? We are the ones who elected Obama by a landslide, the majority of the voices that cried for change. We had a few victories... And then, just as quickly, we were forgotten by every single person in Washington. I guess we thought it was enough to just get the guy into office, and everything we were promised would just fall into place. It might be slow, but it would happen if we were patient. We thought we could just let all the "grown-ups" take over the dirty work from there. We were wrong. They told us they could handle it, that our future would be in good hands.

To all of those who continually tell us-- "We know what's good for you." NO YOU FUCKING DON'T. Or you would have listened to us by now. Why haven't you learned from your parents? We are the ones getting hurt because of the asinine policies of YOUR generation. We are the ones who want a better life for ourselves and our posterity, because our parents are too busy screaming and arguing to notice that we are the ones who have to live with their mistakes. Therefore, WE are the ones who are going to have to fight for it.

Being the Change isn’t enough when they’re not paying attention, when they're not actually taking to heart what we feel and what we say. We have to make them pay attention.

So here's the deal- DC doesn't listen to us now because we're "just a bunch of kids." It's time we take charge and demand to be recognized. We need young, loud, Progressive voices to represent our generation in Washington. Not just as activists, but as lawmakers, as governors (ages 18+ in most states) and state senators, as lobbyists, and as Representatives in the House (25+). It's time to tell them-- Enough is Enough. We the Young People of the United States have had enough of this pathetic bickering between the Right and the Barely-Left-of-Center. We want action. We want results, and we want this "bright and shiny future" that we have been promised.

I will personally volunteer to launch a campaign for anyone willing to stand up for us. It will be a difficult battle before we get there, and then the real war begins. We need to spread the message far and wide, which is why we need to start now. We have seen what we can do when enough of us get involved—in the past few months alone, we have raised awareness about bullying in schools, especially against LGBT students; we have raised awareness about corporate corruption, and the need for environmental protection, problems in our education system, and inequalities in our society-- and our concern for our own futures as America's workforce-in-training. And sometimes, yes, Washington eventually heard us. And said they would do something... Maybe. Eventually. Clearly, our government officials have lost sight of what truly matters, in favor of "winning" against the other team. We need to make them care. We need to make them take action, NOW. It may be too late to redo this election, but we can be ready for what’s coming next. As I stated early, we are a very powerful demographic and a force to be reckoned with, if we can come together to work for progress. If they could do it in the 60s, fighting against an idiotic war and demanding social change, we can certainly do it now. We can demand equality. We can demand freedom. We can demand social justice. We just need to organize, the way we did in 2008. To do this, and to win, we will need strong, smart leaders who are able and willing to stand up to the Tea Party, and to the weak Democrats in congress. We need REAL change we can believe in, and clearly if it's going to get done right, we just have to do it ourselves. We need someone on the inside, to remind them that we are here. (Also, we totes need to get the PCCC in on this. I’m working on it, but it would be great if a bunch of us could convince them. K thnx.)

If you are interested, I urge you, I implore you-- let your voice be heard. We have Facebook, and Twitter, and other social networking sites at our disposal, and we know just how incredible the power of the internet can be. We need to transfer that power back to IRL. Let's be real-- the MSM occasionally pays attention to us because it makes for a good story; because we are original, and different, and because we . But now, more than anything, we need to drum up that kind of attention in Washington. Let your voice be heard! Let's let them watch and learn how it's done.

In the meantime, we have 2 months to mobilize and convince Congress to get a move on it before the TPers arrive. This may be our last chance for awhile... Let's make it count.

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