Much to my regret, as a trailing-edge Baby Boomer I was too young for most of the activity in the 1960s. The protests, the love-ins, the sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll … in hindsight, I suspect I might have been lucky to be too young, but at the time, I bitterly resented not being a few years older.
This past Saturday, I attended the March For Our Lives event in Kansas City, Missouri.
To say I was impressed by the quality of planning, depth of talent, diversity of perspective, and commitment to creating change is a profound understatement. These young adults (I will not call them “kids”!) have made a powerful and very moving statement about the world they live in – and this weekend’s events are not the end of the story by any means.
The 1960s were about dropping out – out of school, out of mainstream expectations, out of politics, and in many ways (and sometimes literally), out of life. While that era was important in our history (as are all eras), and marked a rebellion against our parents’ “Silent Generation / Traditionalists” obedience to hierarchical authority, it had only a limited impact due to the very dropping-out nature of the movement.
Today’s young adults are not dropping out. Brought up in a world of global communication, they have already demonstrated that they know how to use that connection to organize on a large scale. They’re well aware of the politics at play as well as of the political power they have – and they have every intention of wielding that power.
In the 1960s, the mantra was “Never trust anyone over 30.” Today, while these young adults are certainly not going to wait for us olders to take action on what’s important to them (we haven’t so far!), they are more than willing to include us in the movement; they’ll take whatever support we care to offer.
Communication. Engagement. Determination. Commitment.
After this weekend, I have more hope for our world and for the future than I have had in some time.