Throughout the world, regardless of race, creed, or culture, it always seems to be the youth, the students, who come out and protest when change needs to occur. They are the ones who march on Selma, who stand in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square, who rise up in Tahrir Square.
Oh yes, we adults are there, too, but for sheer numbers, strength, energy and presence, you can’t beat the youth of the world. And it’s ironic, because every generation seems to belittle that same group. We often say they have no purpose, no ambition, no drive. They’re lazy and unproductive, have no opinions and make nothing of themselves.
I say just give them a good cause and see what happens to that laziness.
Is it because they are younger, stronger and healthier that they are willing to sleep in the open to prove their points? Is it because they have the time? Do they have less to lose? It is certainly much easier to walk away from a job to join a picket line when you don’t have a mortgage, a car payment, and children to feed.
Or is it what I fear deep down: that the older you get, the more apt you are to be covered in an ever-thickening blanket of cynicism? I can only speak for myself, but I know that when I was younger, I was much more idealistic. I was much more apt to believe that change could actually occur. I really did think that my voice, when added to others, could be heard and acted upon.
Oh, I still speak out. I still sign petitions, write blogs and letters and newspaper articles, express my opinion, and I will march, even if only for a day. But the fact is, I’m tired. I’m tired, I’m disillusioned, and on my darkest days I’m bitter. I guess I’m just not as young as I used to be.
So I want to thank the youth of the world. Keep up the good work. It’s important.
(Unfortunately, more and more, I find myself carrying on.)