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Activism: Walking the Walk

by Linda Jenkinson

We are better than this

Picture credit: Pixabay

CNN Says about the Parkland students :

"They're the most formidable foes the NRA will face — and it's because they're so young."

When kids lead, adults follow.

If that sounds backwards to you take a look at our Founding "Fathers."

Founding Fathers in 1776

Date of Birth=b. — Age in 1776= a.

  • Benjamin Franklin b. 1706 a.70
  • John Adams b.1735 a.41
  • George Washington b. 1732 a. 35
  • Thomas Jefferson b. 1743 a. 33
  • John Jay b.1745 a.31
  • James Madison b. 1751 a. 25
  • Alexander Hamilton b. 1755 a. 21

Ben Franklin, at 70 years old was the Grandpa of the group, followed by next-eldest John Adams at the ripe old age of 41. Not another person in the group was over the age of 35. Alexander Hamilton was the "baby" of the group at the age of 21.

These young men were not exactly high schoolers, but they did lay out a plan to break away from the most powerful empire of their time and create an infant nation that would become the most powerful in the world.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students are reminding us that youth can speak to power, can foment change, and that it is a force to be reckoned with. These young survivors of the Parkland massacre bring firsthand authority to the gun debate and are showing the adult population how to solve problems.

Problem solving starts with being willing to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. Days of impassioned speeches, protests, and sit-ins barred Florida legislators (including Governor Rick Scott) from turning a blind eye.

A comment on a Vox news post made me remember another time when young people were willing to do what was necessary to get the job done. Their headline read:

"How the baby boomers — not millennials — screwed America"

… with a subhead fashioned to rub salt into the wound:

"The boomers inherited a rich, dynamic country and have gradually bankrupted it."

That's something I've been thinking a lot about, because I'm a boomer. My generation had such high ideals and big plans. Looking at the trouble in this country today, it is easy to surmise that none of them came to fruition. But that's not true.

Another woman commented, "It is Baby Boomers who were the rank and file of the Civil Rights Movement. It is the Baby Boomers who were the core of the Anti War Movement. It is the Baby Boomers who pushed for legislation for the Women’s Movement."

I really needed that reminder. It was the young heroes of the 60's that let society know there were real problems in this country. It was a time when "We Shall Overcome" was not a promise. It was a battle cry.

The problem isn't that the boomers were a do-nothing generation. The problem is that we became complacent. We were satisfied with a little progress and closed our eyes to how the world was changing around us.

These intelligent and brave young Floridians have opened our eyes again. All over this country their peers have come together to support them. It is time we boomers got off our keisters and joined them. It isn't too late to walk the walk to a better future. As the commenter concluded, "Our Common Goal across generations needs to be to work for the Common Good of our country."

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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