I’m with the kids

It was inspiring to see kids walking out of their classrooms today. They walked out because they care about their lives and the lives of others, and they have the guts to do something about it. So many people have your backs, kids. Keep fighting.

Seeing the way some “grown-ups” are treating these kids hurts my heart so much. You know what gets my goat more than just about anything? The notion that anyone under a certain age can’t possibly have enough understanding of the world to know what they believe in yet is preposterous. Sure, maybe the fact that they don’t have a fully developed prefrontal cortex leads to dumb shit like eating Tide Pods or snorting cinnamon or whatever. But these kids know what it feels like to grieve, to hurt, to lose. They know the difference between right and wrong, and they know that it is wrong for kids their age to be murdered at school, a place that should be safe and even sacred. Furthermore, they’re smart enough to find a common denominator. Spoiler: It’s guns.

I saw some of the most ignorant, and frankly, stupid comments on social media today. Most of them were from the adults. Some hurled insulting names like idiots or sheep and accused the kids of using this as just another excuse to get out of class. The dumbest thing I read was a man stating that his kids don’t need to participate in something like this because they were raised to fend for themselves. A) What does that mean? B) The way a kid was raised won’t help them if someone with a powerful weapon wants them dead. What is even more disappointing is that some of these people are probably parents.

Then there were the people playing the anti-bullying card WHILE BULLYING TEENAGERS ON FACEBOOK. Don’t get me started on the #WalkUpNotOut nonsense. Okay fine, people should be nice to each other, and bullies are shitty. I agree. But the fact that this came about as a response to the planned walkouts makes it yet another scapegoat to avoid addressing the issue of easy access to powerful weapons. It’s the new mental health. It’s also a very emotionally manipulative form of victim blaming. Please stop.

I digress.

I am a Democrat raised by a Republican father. Granted, my dad hasn’t voted for a Republican for president since Bush in 2000. My earliest political memories are of how much my dad hated Bill Clinton. “Slick-Willy” Clinton is what he called him. When I got older, I started to understand what I believed in through involvement in democracy. Starting just after my junior year of high school, I protested, I canvassed, I worked my ass off alongside other high school students. None of us could vote yet, but we understood what we were working for, and we cared about the future of our communities and our school.  My dad supported my desire to be involved in the political process so much that he excused me from school on Election Day, so that I could call voters and make sure they were able to get to the polls. That year, voters approved a measure to increase school funding in our district, and these types of measures had been historically difficult to pass there. High school students from all over the district had been knocking on doors telling voters how much they cared about their schools since summertime. With the support of all of our parents we worked for something and we were able to watch that pay off.

If you’re a parent with a kid who wants to participate in the democratic process, that means they care. If you have a kid who cares, that means you did something right as a parent. If you’re on the opposite side of an issue, fine! TALK to your kids. Ask them why they feel the way they do; don’t admonish them. Encourage them to read and research and be able support their opinions with FACTS. For Christ’s sake, how amazing to be able to say that you raised an independent thinker! This is the time in their lives they will start to create the kind of adult they will become. Don’t you want to raise a kid who believes in the power of their voice and someday their vote? Or would you rather spend grades 9-12 telling your kid they are too young to possibly understand, so their opinion doesn’t count? They might just transition into adulthood holding on to that kind of cynicism. Think about it.

One more thing: The Gen Xers and Boomers (mostly) who have such strong opposition to these kids participating in the democratic process better hope these kids hang on to their compassion and respect for human life. These kids will see the older generations through retirement. Quite honestly, they have no reason to care about the lives of their elders considering how little care has been shown for their own lives. But something tells me they’re going to do the right thing.

Join me in marching on March 24th. I’ll be participating in the Denver march.

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