Student Activism, Again.
We grew up in an activist era. We demonstrated against the Vietnam War, in favor of civil rights and equality for women and people of color. We marched on Washington. We worked in the political campaigns of progressive politicians we supported. We cried when John and Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, were assassinated. In the days when few people had air conditioning, we remember walking down the street and hearing through every open window the Clarence Thomas hearings.
It was a heady time. There were a lot of us, student activists, and we believed we had some effect on things. We believed we helped stop the war, and we believed we made the world more equal. (Some question now whether white women like us left black women behind. We hope we were making gender an issue for every woman.)
For the most part, our children have not--until now--seen the need to be so political. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, they have seen no need to put their bodies where their beliefs are. The virtual world is full of passion, but it is mostly virtual. They sometimes even fail to vote, which makes us weep.
But things are changing, and we have the current political masters to thank for it. Donald Trump's election was a shock, and since the election his behavior, and that of his elected enablers, has deepened the shock. And starting before that, our children have been slaughtered. While they were in school, doing what they were supposed to do. The repeat targets of madmen with assault weapons. (We remember the national horror and shame when four students were gunned down at Kent State, by the National Guard. We have become scarily inured to violence in school since then.)
Where are the grownups? The Americans? Why won't the grownups do something?
The children are tired of waiting. They will do something themselves. They will march. They will protest. They will walk out of school. They will vote, and will keep registering their friends, at music festivals and concerts and parties. They will organize boycotts of businesses that fail to support their right to life. And they will succeed where their elders have failed.
We are horrified at how much blood and death has been shed to lead to this awakening. We are appalled at the racism and misogyny given voice at the top of the government. But we are thrilled and proud that our children are rising up. We have faith in them. And we are glad that they have faith in our country.
We will stand with them.