Gosh writing that headline was painful. But give me a chance here.
In my day job, I work with some amazing children. On the way back from a trip the other day with some 8-12 year olds, the bus was awash with political talk, and it was all thanks to Trump.
Apathy or political ignorance amongst the young is one of my biggest pet peeves – and don’t get me wrong, it isn’t their fault. It is ours; the political systems, and the education systems. Trump however, seems to have ignited a fire within these young people. They are asking questions, getting angry, and most importantly – becoming civically active and politically vocal.
The theatrics of Trump’s regime makes it digestible for even the youngest members of our society. For even them, it all seems a little unreal, and like us, they too are hoping to wake up from what seems like a terrible nightmare. He speaks in a language that is understandable to the under-16s, and they are quite apt at translating to us older folk.
For example, the whole misogynistic attitude is something our young girls have to deal with in school on a day to day basis. They know it is not ok for the president of the ‘free’ world to say he would like to ‘grab someone by the pussy’, and quite rightly, they are pretty mad. They also know that building a wall on the Mexican border isn’t a solution to immigration. Our kids are smarter than the US president – these are the frightening realities we are contending with.
When the President is the butt of the joke for our children, we know something has gone terribly wrong. But I love it, because through his buffoonery he is arming a new generation of liberal minded, rational thinking, energy filled young people and pushing them towards the left. The next generation will be the ones who put an end to the long term tyrannical reign of the right, and who demand proper democracy, a fit-for-purpose voting system, and adherence to international conventions such as the Climate Agreement and the Human Rights Act. We just need to support, encourage and provide a platform for their new found interest.
This coming generation doesn’t believe in nation, or borders, or walls. They see the world for what it is with fresh new eyes – one planet, one people, and one chance at getting this right
Kids are asking me how they can get involved, what they can do, and how they can help stop the madness so they have a planet to grow up on. They are joining Youth Parliament, investigating local political parties, joining debate teams, and asking their teachers why they aren’t taught about politics. They are finally thirsty for more information, and damn is it inspiring. We have a duty to arm our young people with unbiased political knowledge (if such a thing does exist, I for one struggle), so that they can go forth into the world and really be the change they now so desperately want to see. My advice is always to read more, form your own opinions from your own experiences and knowledge, and encourage others to do the same. Also to combat ignorance wherever you find it – knowledge is power.
Not only are they interested in American politics, but the resultant affect is they are becoming more quizzical when it comes to politics at home too. Just the other day, a 12 year old went on a big rant about the Tories and housing, and how it makes no sense that they build houses but not roads, and shops and schools. That they then sell social housing, meaning there is none left for those who need it. They are starting to join the dots and realise politics isn’t some abstract thing that exists out there, but is something everyone must participate in. That politics is something to do, not to be done to you. I have been in youth work over five years now, and never before have I heard such a quantity of political chatter from the mouths of the young. I am beyond excited.
With Trump’s UK visit finally announced for the end of February, I am hopeful that this wave of frustration builds amongst our youth. A protest is already being organised, and I believe there will be a large proportion of young people there making their voice heard. Organisers are going to attempt a citizen’s arrest on the President for inciting racial hatred. Brilliant. If you are the parent of a young person, I implore you to allow this voice to flourish, and to allow them to participate in whatever ways they are able.
This is the generation who make friends across the world through gaming systems and social media. This coming generation doesn’t believe in nation, or borders, or walls. They see the world for what it is with fresh new eyes – one planet, one people, and one chance at getting this right.
So when this revolution generation hit voting age, it will be bye bye Trump and all he stands for, and hello new world order. We have been waiting for you.