Fifty years ago, I was a sophomore in college, my only source of income was the small stipend my parents could afford to give me each semester. But I really didn’t need a lot of money to live on, since my room and board were provided along with my tuition.
The one thing I had was my future, and that was in jeopardy.
There was this insane war going on in Southeast Asia, and we were given the task of fighting it. The first trickle of returning corpses were slightly older than I was, guys from the neighborhood, my friend’s nineteen year old brother, names and faces on the nightly news. Young people without a future.
We had little voice in controlling our future. We could be drafted, but we couldn’t vote until we were twenty-one. Some of us became political, and others sought sanctuary in Canada. My friends and I marched and protested. We were fighting for our lives, and for our futures.
This past Saturday, I spent the entire day glued to my television watching The March for Our Lives. I witnessed magnificent young people, some as young as eleven years old, demanding that something be done to stop the gun violence that threatens their lives.
Parents shouldn’t have to bury their children, and students shouldn’t have to mourn their friends. Death is the inescapable fate of the old, and it must not be allowed to invade the lives of the young people who have their lives ahead of them.
I’ve heard the same, tired argument used against them that the establishment used against us. Their patriotism was questioned. They were being manipulated by others. They were too young to understand.
And although many of them are too young to vote, that will soon change.
Let me assure you, these outstanding young people are the living personification of America, and what it means to be a patriot. And anyone who claims otherwise is beneath contempt.
They’re not being manipulated; they are fighting for their lives on a battlefield just as real as the jungles of Vietnam. And the politician’s response is arming the teachers, and bringing more weapons into their schools? Is that any different from Lyndon Johnson escalating the war in Vietnam? And look where that got us!
The politicians who are taking millions of dollars from the NRA are the one being manipulated. They act and sound like idiots in order to please their masters, who will gladly sacrifice our children’s lives in order to make more money.
And as far as their age is concerned, these these young people are far more intelligent and articulate than those who criticize them. Their wisdom, passion and poise are their strength, and their voice needs to be heard.
They deserve a future…