Generation Resist: America’s Youth Shaping its Political Future
BY IRENE NAZARI
On March 24th in Washington DC and in almost every major city in the United States this older millennial saw again what it looks like when our democracy works. We were led this time, not by a television personality, a lifelong politician, or an entire gender, but by a diverse, driven, and determined group of high school kids. They are demanding #neveragin, never again for anyone else to survive what they lived through: the 42nd out of a total of 50 school shootings (resulting in death) since Jan 20th 2017.
How have we gotten to this point, where nearly 800,000 people have to take to the streets to demand reasonable, common sense, gun reform that most of the country already supports? Why do students feel the need to take the lead on issues instead of playing on their phones and snap-chatting late into the night like regular teenagers? On November 8th 2016 the adults in the room failed them. All the experts had predicted a Clinton win, and by a lot. The adults had told them to go to bed, not to worry, everything would be fine, they said. There’s no way that a pussy grabbing, outrageously orange, failed businessman could become president they said. The regular adults failed them in November by electing our worst person to the presidency when they/it/he exploited every weakness in our system, our worst instincts, and our complacency. A process seemingly designed to weed out the crazy, the extreme and the fringe, instead, gave us exactly that.
What followed was the realization that we can’t be regular anymore. The day after the inauguration of not just America’s stupidest, but most malicious and narcissistic man, was one of the largest global protest movements we have ever seen. First, the Women’s March, was a behemoth so large that the volunteer organizations that helped put the women’s march on became permanent institutions. The immigrant march and airport protests followed as the controversy of the travel ban erupted. While the fat-fingered septuagenarian continued his impotent tirades on twitter, we flocked to the streets, we organized and we resisted. We took what we have learned from our far too expensive liberal arts and social science educations and we mainstreamed them and put it into practice. Then, those of us who could vote, voted. We voted in Virginia, we voted in New Jersey. Black women voted in Alabama. We voted in Pennsylvania. By all accounts we have never been more engaged in our democracy. The resistance has harnessed the energy of the youth, and channeled our natural inclination for rebellion into a full forced, primal, guttural roar of NO! No, you will not harass and intimidate women. No, you will not ban transgender people from serving in the military. No, you will not ban marijuana. No you will not kill black people in the streets. No, you will not allow gun violence to reign our lives with fear because it is far easier to pass a bill protecting dogs in overhead compartments on United flights than take on gun manufacturers.
No, you will not harass and intimidate women. No, you will not ban transgender people from serving in the military. No, you will not ban marijuana. No you will not kill black people in the streets. No, you will not allow gun violence to reign our lives with fear!
What everyone wants to know now is: is this movement here to stay, or is it a blip for an otherwise complacent and lackadaisical electorate? Those of us in my older millennial generation, after crossing the hurdle of electing the first black president thought naively that we were living in a post-racial America. We have just started to taste the freedom of marriage equality, of legal weed, and access to healthcare for everyone. For the first time in decades we have generated bipartisan support for criminal justice reform. We have felt the fresh air on our face of what we can accomplish when we work for the benefit of all not the profit of a few. This new generation has shown no desire to turn back from the progress of literally 1 ½ years. Along with Generation of Resist, we will continue to resist until the fabulous wealth of this country is put towards the well-being of all it’s citizens. We will continue to resist until the government that has for too long marginalized the voice of the people corporate donors and special interest groups starts to listen to the deafening cries of its citizens. We will resist the ignorant bigotry and racism that has reared its ugly head. We will resist the backwards, the stupid, and the racist. We will call it what it is, and we say now, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!