February 25, 2018

Will Youth Rage Save America?

The pathetic political response to the murders of 17 children at a high school in Parkland, Florida has awakened a sleeping giant.

Hundreds of thousands of high school students are pissed at the platitudes made by the crony political class. The rage is growing and this feels like the beginning of a real movement.

What makes this exciting is that younger generations don't give a fuck. They don't have mortgages to pay and corporate reputations to worry about. They don't have little people to raise and mouths to feed.

Moreover, the brain of the average person aged 14-25 is a chemical cocktail suppressing the 'think twice' gene, and by the nature of generational differences they tend to already feel disenfranchised. There's a reason most soldiers are super-young.

If this really is the beginning of a movement, it could have the power to make dramatic change. Never get into a fight with someone who thinks he has nothing to lose.

Amid the shooting's aftermath, new youth leaders are emerging. One of them is Paul Kim, who recently released this call to arms (transcript below if video unavailable):



Here's the quote that hooked me:
"...to the politicians to whom the massacre of children is just another political obstacle, get ready for the survivors of Parkland to become voters. Get ready for their classmates around the country to become voters. Get ready for a wave of rage that will not just tear you from office in disgrace, but will toss you into the rubble of history within your own lifetimes."
For those who can't see the video (for some reason videos don't embed into emails), here's the full transcript:
My name is Paul Kim, I’m a 17 year old senior at Ridgefield High School. In my role as an organizer of the National School Walkout, I wanted to share some of the thoughts that have been swirling in my head over the last couple days.  
I’ve noticed that something about this particular tragedy has made me react differently—rather than feel the initial shock and gut-wrenching horror followed by a gradual return to my routine, my distress has only intensified since the event. Paradoxically, this is what makes me optimistic that it is now when change will finally arrive.  
My distress has intensified not only as more stories of terror and nightmarish videos emerge, but simply because I have thought about the tragedy. Along with the rest of America, I am realizing that this tragedy is revealing more than just America’s gun problem. It has forcefully stripped away the veneer of normality and revealed the rot at the core of our current social and political condition.  
This tragedy shows the compassionless response of those in authority to the mental health needs of vulnerable young men. Although it is tempting to fall for the age-old trap of dehumanizing the story’s villain, we cannot forget that somehow this action arose from a human being not too different from the rest of us. A small part of the tragedy is the destruction of the life of Nicholas Cruz himself, an adopted child whose adoptive father died at a young age and whose mother died recently. He was a social pariah who was expelled from high school rather than given help, who struggled with mental illness, and who was reported to authorities numerous times but still neglected. Nothing can excuse his actions. But this tragedy offers us a glimpse of the heartlessness of our institutional attitudes toward mental illness.  
The tragedy shows what can be called, without exaggeration, blatant corruption in Congress. When, in a CNN town hall, we saw Marco Rubio say “I will always accept the help of anyone who agrees with my agenda” when asked if he would refuse to continue taking donations from the NRA, we all felt collective rage at his dodge—not just because of specific concerns about gun control, but because it perfectly captured the disgusting attitude of our lawmakers. Never have people been more desperate for candor from our politicians, and never has it been so absent. When 97% of Americans support expanding universal background checks for firearm purchases, yet, even in the wake of a tragedy like this, the ruling party is kept in office by those opposing such action, the truth becomes obvious: our current leaders exist not to serve us, but their donors. On stage, Rubio repeated, fumbling for words, this phrase: “people buy into my agenda.” Not anymore, Senator. Americans are done with corporate slaves like yourself subverting democracy just to get reelected on false grounds. 
Incoming is a generation who demands gun control, but more than just that. We demand a completely new political program, one in which concern for humans, and not dollars, guides policy. Don’t think that you can throw us a bone with one meek gun law. We will not be pacified by empty symbolism. We will continue to exercise every option available to us until action is taken. Real action, action that makes sure that Parkland, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Columbine never happen again. And when we’re done there, we’ll move on to the next issue, step by step fixing the damage that has been done to our country. We have ideological strength and the force of raw demography on our side.  
And so, to the politicians to whom the massacre of children is just another political obstacle, get ready for the survivors of Parkland to become voters. Get ready for their classmates around the country to become voters. Get ready for a wave of rage that will not just tear you from office in disgrace, but will toss you into the rubble of history within your own lifetimes. You are wrong, like the opponents of Civil Rights were wrong in 1964, like the Confederates were wrong in 1860. You have disgraced yourselves and this country. History will not forget, and some day, perhaps soon enough for you to see, your statues will be torn down like those of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis; melted, and made into a memorial to the Parkland 17.
To protest the political inaction, Paul Kim and others are planning a National Student Walkout on April 20th, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school massacre.

The National Student Walkout project is the brainchild of Ridgefield, Connecticut student Lane Murdock, a sophomore at Ridgefield High School. Supported by fellow students Paul Kim, Max Cumming, and Grant Yaun, the movement has grown exponentially.

The group has already collected 215,000+ signatures from people pledging their commitment to the walkout.

How can you help?

1. Share the speech in this post.
2. Share the Change.org petition: Change.org
3. Connect on Twitter and Facebook.

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