Young people are constantly criticized by older generations for not understanding the intricacies of “adult issues” like gun reform. Anytime a teenager wants to share their opinion on a political issue they are immediately dismissed for being naive. Adults claim to be the only ones that can form well-supported arguments for their beliefs purely because of their age.
Older people usually say that they are wiser because they have many more years of life experience. While that may be true in some cases, it does not mean that the points teenagers make should be ignored because there is something to be learned from people of all ages.
Millennials are often bad-mouthed by older generations by calling us lazy and entitled when actually they are just terrified of the fact that millennials are having independent thoughts and attempting to change the world. Teenagers are also told they are too easily offended when they express their pain over an issue that directly affects them.
Then they are met with people saying that they will never take action to change the ideals of our society because we expect everything to be handed to us. Once we do organize and our movements gain traction, the older generations backpedal and try to stop us from making progress because they are stuck in their ways.
The latest example of this has been the reactions to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Students like Emma Gonzalez have been sharing with the media why they believe the United States needs gun control and this has resulted in them being ridiculed by many adults. Despite their tremendous accomplishments of getting thousands of people to stand with them in their protests and share their speeches, adults are still coming up with excuses to invalidate their hard work.
Gun lovers adamantly oppose the students’ views because they claim to have always had guns and to have never hurt someone with them, but then threaten to shoot whoever tries to take them away. They talk down to the students by saying that they only got emotional over the state of Florida not passing an assault rifle ban because they hate not getting their way.
Some have even gone as far as to claim that the students that were being shown in the media are “crisis actors.” It is absolutely sickening that people are so desperate to bring the attention off of the need for gun control in the United States that they are willing to invalidate the experiences of these children by calling them crisis actors.
With each passing day, I see more and more teenagers rising up to stand for the causes they believe in. My generation is determined to make an impact and fix the problems in our world that have been caused and ignored by those that are older than us. There are just as many millennials with informed opinions on political topics as there are adults.
In all honesty, I have met more young people with political opinions that are based on actual facts and not prejudice than I have adults. Teenagers are going to shape this world into being safer and more inclusive and the movements coming out of Parkland are only the beginning.