Sunday, April 10, 2005

I'm just amazed sometimes!

I was recently in a discussion with some young people regarding the direction the Left should take to counter the Right wings stranglehold on America. Every time I get to be involved with one of these discussions, I am just amazed at how bright and well informed our young people truly are. Their ability to communicate, their understanding of the issues, and their commitment makes me proud of every one of them. Many of them could have easily been leaders in the 1960s. I constantly wonder what it missing from this equation? Is it that they talk too much and act too little? Do they have too many distractions? Are they too comfortable? I always imagine them to be like a stack of gold coins. I wonder where the fire will come from to melt them into one solid brick. And finally, I wonder who among them will throw that brick through a White House window.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

as one such young person, i am disillusioned with the 60s. many of the older activists i interact with start out saying how great it is that i'm involved in social justice issues at a young age, but are soon enough lecturing me on all the things i don't know because i wasn't around for the 60s. this post seems very similar. maybe you should figure out what was missing from the 60s before you start examining my generation. why did your movement die? did you talk too much and act too little? did you have too many distractions? were you too comfortable?

there was mass protest of the invasion of iraq before it even began. thousands died in vietnam before there was mass protest. we are approaching legalized gay marriage much faster than we approached legalized interracial marriage. we are voting at rates much higher than younger people ever did before. maybe you can't figure out the answers because you're asking the wrong questions.

9:59 PM  
Blogger JusticeE.R. said...

I guess I touched a nerve here. I am not trying to compare now to then. I am well aware of the problems that were associated with the radical politics of the 1960s. I just wonder why with all the education and wonderful tools you have at your disposal there is so little unity and activism. Please take some of this fire that you directed at me and direct it at them. I'm on your side.

6:52 AM

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...there is so little unity and activism..."
"I am not trying to compare now to then."

these two seem contradictory. if you're not comparing now to then, to what is the current amount of unity and activism being compared, to determine there is "so little"?

9:15 AM  
Blogger JusticeE.R. said...

Once again, I am not comparing now to then. Little activism by any measure is still little activism. Considering the nation changing issues that we are currently facing, I would say there is not nearly enough activism on the part of young people. The sheer number of issues we are facing today calls for a focused effort. It is my hope that our young people would lead that effort. People of my generation are just as guilty of "too much talk and not enough action." There is some serious shit happening to our government, our country, and our world. So all of us, young and old alike need to stand up and say "No more!"

11:34 AM  
Blogger Unspun™ said...

Besides the comments that the blog author has made in response here, I guess I'm going to say that apparently "anonymous" isn't in the class of people the blog author was saying he's impressed with, anyway.

Why do I say that? Because of "anonymous'" comment that the blog author committed the grievous sin of "lecturing...on all the things" that "anonymous" did not know. That, combined with "anonymous'" specific "evidence" discussed below don't speak well for any depth of thought.

First, I didn't see anything like "lecturing ['anonymous'] on all the things ['anonymous' didn't] know because ['anonymous'] wasn't around for the 60s" in the post. But then, "anonymous" goes on to exemplify the aphorism about the pot calling the kettle black when "anonymous" says that the blog author should "figure out what was missing from the 60s before you start examining my generation."

Given that, apparently, "anonymous" was not sentient in the 60s (and I hope I'm not going too far in assuming that "anonymous" is sentient now!), then it would appear that "anonymous" is formulating an opinion based upon "anonymous'" observations. In other words, "anonymous" is being critical of the blog author in exactly the same way that "anonymous" appears to feel is inappropriate when done by the blog author.

As to the specifics put forth by "anonymous," all of them are unsupported, and some are actually unsupportable. There were Vietnam protests before "thousands died"; the fact that the protests grew as the body count grew is not to be held against the protesters. Every problem draws more complaints as the problem grows worse. The claim that legalized gay marriage being approached "faster," especially when apparently said in sincerity, is comical. Gay marriage has only recently been "approached" publicly; interracial marriage was "approached" and resolved long ago. By definition, then, interracial marriage was approached faster. According to CivicYouth.org, "In Presidential election years between 1972 and 2000, the national youth voter turnout rate declined by 13 percentage points (among 18-24 year old voters)." So kudos to "anonymous" for the fact that, in 2004, young voters appeared to begin to reverse this trend, but the facts appear to show that this is the reversal of a slump that occurred after the youth of the 1960s had a similarly higher voter turnout that took a significant dip for 30 years, starting in the 1970s. And "[s]ignificantly, the Chronicle article states that unlike their counterparts of the 1960s, most of today's teenagers in general do not try to solve problems through political action." The article just quoted notes that they don't believe their votes matter, so they're less likely to use them to solve problems.

In short, I think that blasting one or the other "generation" for its purported failures relative to another "generation" is bogus. It's also pointless.

The thing to do now is figure out how to get more people of all age groups more involved.

To the extent that either the blog author or "anonymous" is thinking about and/or questioning and/or working towards that goal, they would both be deserving of praise.

3:53 PM  
Blogger JusticeE.R. said...

Unspun,
Thanks for shining such a bright light of clarity on this discussion. Those who oppose us are both united in spirit and in purpose. We must also be united in spirit and in purpose. Just the recent assaults on the judicial branch of our government are enough to make me want to light a fire under both young and old alike. I don't care how this madness is stopped. I don’t care who stops it. All the chips are on the table and the winner takes all.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say you're not comparing now to the 60s, but you don't hesitate to do so when it appears to support your bias against modern youth. You say you're not singling out youth, but your post is entirely devoted to doing just that. Both you and Unspun seem less than sincere in your interest in working with youth after a lengthy, though vague critique thereof. You're basically calling an entire generation lazy, unfocused, and self-centered. Is it any wonder they may not want to work with you?

5:49 AM  
Blogger JusticeE.R. said...

I think it is time for the readers to decide this one. So if anyone else cares to comment - please tell us who is full of shit? Is it anonymous, Justice E.R., or Unspun? Maybe we are all full of shit? Please, someone help me out here.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Yayan said...

Superb writings... nice philosophies.... awesome blog...

interesting entries! (",)

keep on bloggin'!

carpe diem!

http://billryan.blogspot.com

8:03 PM  
Blogger JusticeE.R. said...

Yayan,
I needed to hear some positive. I don't know about the word superb. But, thanks!

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Bulldog said...

Justice E.R., obviously "anonymous" is focusing too much on the 'us or them' theme you mentioned very early on in this post and the comments, rather than focus on the 'meat' of the discussion: Get more people involved politically to help shape our country's policies. That's the long and the short of it. Hopefully Anonymous can see that.

12:14 AM  
Blogger JusticeE.R. said...

Bulldog, You are correct - It's not us against us, it's us against them. Yes, please make us old radicals look bad - just put the IPods down and fucking do something to stop this madness.

9:54 PM  

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