The Kids Are Bumming Everyone Out, Man.

I have a lot of sympathy for these kids. And I know, to a lot of people it feels like Richie Rich just found out that the father of his friend Annie, Daddy Warbucks, who threw the best birthday parties by the way, was actually a genocidal maniac. So now Richie trashed his room and barricaded himself in the pantry and is demanding that his dad, Richie Rich, Sr., divest from diamond mines owned by Warbucks Incorporated. But that’s just mean and c’mon at least Richie’s heart is in the right place. He’s just waking up to the bullshit. Many of us went through it at that age.

But this generation is a little different. They grew up with school shootings and Sandy Hook and Parkland. Some of them activated much earlier than previous generations and are more prepared and organized. 

But still our society, us, have told these kids their whole life that America stands for human rights and dignity. That we stand for the rule of law and against tyranny. We basically lied to them, but for pretty good reasons. Most of us want to do the right thing, it’s just our actual track record doesn’t exactly hold up to our mythology. I don’t need to make a laundry list do I? 

So anyway they run off to college and find out we’re actually willing to fund and arm serious war crimes and something that even the U.N. is saying likely amounts to genocide. Sure it’s complicated, 75 years of failed leadership and bad decision making will do that. But that doesn’t negate the fact that we’re breaking our own laws by funding this thing. And yes, I know that we break our own laws all of the time when it comes to war crimes and human rights violations. But many of the kids are just finding this out. Because, and get this, we instilled values in them that are contrary to our own actions and downplayed the bad stuff that actually goes on. One more time, we instilled values in them that are contrary to our own actions and downplayed the bad stuff that actually goes on. See that? Anyway, they were just little kids, we couldn’t dump all of this heavy shit on them just because we failed to do better.

So when these kids get to be young adults and see what’s actually happening and start protesting and then we tell them that they’re breaking the law for breaking a window, well c’mon. Seriously? Let’s see, window or 34,000 lives and an imminent famine? Mmhh, I don’t know, what kind of window was it again? See how absurd that seems? Besides, for the most part they’re doing great. They’re actually pretty together and they’re mostly peaceful. 

Do things happen? Sure, things happen when you get this many passionate people fighting for something. Especially, as we just learned, when you have Jerry Seinfeld’s wife bankrolling counter protesters at UCLA and cops not bothering to respond to angry pro-Israel counterprotesters attacking a peaceful encampment. Those attacks by a pro-Israeli, let’s call them a mob because that’s what it looked like, is the most violent example I’ve seen yet. Besides the cops that is. So why aren’t they being condemned on national television by our President? Why is everyone freaking out about kids in tents, instead? Well, because they don’t want to talk about what Israel is doing, the very thing the kids are trying to force us to talk about. See how that works? In the face of that, well these anti-war kids are doing fine.

Besides, the line between illegal and legitimate protest is constantly debated, and they’re going to make some mistakes. But one thing is clear. No one ever got anything, the right to vote, the right to fair labor laws, or anything else by quietly protesting in the corner somewhere without disrupting something. These kids are testing that line because we taught them to care about values that mean something to them. Values that are supposed to mean something to all of us.

And what? After 75 years of failed policy, of our government actively committing many things that easily can be considered war crimes, illegally invading more than one country, and now violating our own laws designed to protect civilian populations and it’s these kids that are expected to be perfect? In the face of all that Hypocrisy and failure, it’s them that have to bear the burden of doing the right thing 100% of the time? Wowzer. Give. Me. A. Break.

They might not always do the right things but at least they’re fighting for the right things. And they’re hearts are in the right place. What we are asking them to do is to be quiet and accept the fact that we really don’t do what we say we should. We instilled values in them for a reason. And that reason is because we wanted the world to be a better place. It’s not their fault we failed, especially when we still have time to do the right thing. Maybe, just maybe, we can teach the next generation that fighting for what’s right is worth it and sometimes it brings about the change we actually want. Or we can sick the cops on them and threaten their future wellbeing unless they fall in line. I vote for the former.