I have been hard on teenagers in the past. Their under-developed understanding of just about everything has caused me to be frustrated by their actions. Their lack of fore-thought before they do anything has caused me to shake my head and their inability to learn from others who have gone before them seems incomprehensible. I have ridiculed them for spending all their free time with their faces glued to video screens and hiding out in their parents basements communicating with their imaginary friends from around the world. I have been hard on them.
This past weekend I watched as they arose en mass and left their rooms and took to the streets in cities throughout the United States to protest a cause. They showed a solidarity that I was unaware they were capable of and produced a unified message to the electorate of the nation that “enough is enough” and that “gun violence” must stop. It is no longer acceptable that weapons of war are available to the general public in the United States and that anyone with a grudge can inflict the kind of carnage seen at Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland schools and on the streets of Chicago and Las Vegas. The time to speak out arrived on Saturday and damn if they didn’t do their generation proud.
What is inspiring about this protest is that it came without any bias. The ‘walk for our lives’ involved children of all races and religions, and was about those that had been impacted by gun violence, be it in the schools or on the streets. It didn’t matter where a victim died or who that victim was, it only mattered that they died needlessly at the hands of gunmen. The time to raise their voices in protest had come and they did this with a single focus I didn’t know a teen was capable of, they gave a clear cry that “enough is enough” and that things must change. They brought with them a firm message to those in power, ‘fix this or we will find someone that will.’
That’s right, they are the next generation of voters and they know it. Some will be voting age in the fall of this year and the vast majority will be at that age come the time for another U.S. Presidential election. They stood a million strong in protest throughout all 50 states in the U.S., very few of them were of voting age but they would be soon, and they were making sure that legislatures knew they were out there and they were coming.
The Constitution of the United States of America is a document to be envied. It is about freedom, about having the right to live and the ability to pursue happiness, it says that all people are created equal and that no person should live within its borders in fear. It was written by men that had the best of intentions in mind, they were as forward thinking as the times they lived in allowed. They did the best the could and they did a decent job. I am not an American but feel that when Canada adopted the ‘Bill of Rights and Freedoms’, aka the ‘Canadian Constitution’, they modelled the bill after the best of the U.S. Constitution, personalizing and modernizing it to fit our country, but keeping the basic principals intact. The freedom to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
For all that is right about the U.S. Constitution though, it has one flaw. It is more than 200 years old and the authors of the Constitution did not foresee semi-automatic weapons and bump-stocks. The right to bear arms meant a musket and a bayonet, not an M-16 machine gun with laser-sighting. The times have changed and the laws that permit weapons of war on the street need to change as well. The children of the country are demanding it.
To those career politicians that are simply raising an eyebrow and shaking their heads, thinking that these are teens and they will never stay with this cause long enough to make it matter, a word of warning… I think they mean it. Do not forget that all these children took part in a public protest with parental consent, already voting parental! That’s 3 million potential activists all with one objective, to elect people that will get weapons of war off the streets. The influence of that many activists will create a ripple effect that will make any supporter of the 2nd amendment of the U.S. Constitution as it stands, unfit for public office. You will be lucky to get 2 more elections in before they are upon you, your days are numbered.
So take heed people, they are making it known that they are here and they are coming and that things are going to change within the borders of the United States. Maybe not tomorrow or the next day but sooner rather than later. The power generation of today has awoken the generation of the future and it is unlikely that this time they will go back to sleep. They are sensing the power that they have and know it won’t be long until they can use it to kick your ass to the street.
They have a passion not seen since the 60’s and there are still enough hippies around to help guide them and keep the message alive. They are masters of social media already, look what they did with two weeks of organizing! The Russians have nothing on teenagers with purpose!! To echo a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, if you are standing on the side of ‘status quo’ the time has come to get on the bus of change or “you better get your resume’s ready.”
“…and a little child shall lead them…”