This is what the old white guard is terrified of. This is why Republicans will do everything and anything to tighten their minority grip on power. Why they will lie, cheat, steal SCOTUS seats and work to undermine voter rights.
On this day, July 1st, 1971, the 26th Amendment was ratified and the voting age was lowered to 18. Young people have the power to affect massive change in this country. We need them to engage and to exercise that power.
Why? Because the current ruling class has demonstrated a profound unworthiness to control the levers of power.
White baby boomers, who, on this day in 1971 were granted the opportunity to join the national franchise, dropped the ball. We were the first “coddled” generation, raised by post WWII parents who understood what sacrifice was and who did everything in their power to shelter us from any kind of hardship.
For too many of my generation, standing up for social justice took a back seat once we came of age, once we acquired a level of comfort our parents could only have dreamed of. We started to believe we were not only worthy, but entitled to those comforts, even as we ignored the fact that what made it possible for us to ascend was social programs like the GI Bill. And too many of us were willing to turn a blind eye to the direction our country was headed, because, as members of the priviliged class, we allowed ourselves to be convinced that we were worthy and entitled, that our socio-economic status was a product solely of our own virtue.
Yeah, we bought that conservative claptrap hook-line & sinker. Because it validated us and provided cover for us to ignore the the widening gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Here on Long Island, white flight from the city created white working class enclaves, while black and hispanics who wanted the same were red-lined into less desireable neighborhoods, not afforded the same opportunities.
We allowed ourselves to be conned that “those people” were not as deserving as we were, that their condition was not a product of systematic institutional racism, but of some inherent failure on their part. And segregation prevented us from recognizing our common humanity.
We white Boomers had our chance to create a better, kinder country. We squandered it in favor of our own comfort. Now, we need younger generations to step forward and bring empathy back.
Not that we’re worthy of it.