Hey America, Stop Disrespecting Our Nation’s Youth


In the aftermath of this election, there have been mass amounts of youth walkouts in protest. I’m so proud of America’s children for that. My current novel was partially inspired by how I was treated in response to an act of protest my friends and I did in high school, so I know I’d be doing the exact same if I was still in school.

There has also been a lot of mockery by the media and other adults of these teen protests. While I admit, hundreds of middle schoolers chanting “Racist Cheeto! Racist Cheeto!” outside the white house is hilarious, it is not exactly the most mature expression of frustration. However, many, in fact most of the youth protests make some pretty valid points and I’m not going to stay silent while you mock or dismiss them.

It has been noted, repeatedly, and often with disdain or mockery, that Teen Vogue is doing a better job of covering politics than most mainstream media sources. Most of the compliments given to Teen Vogue were backhanded at best, and thinly veiled insults at worst.

“2016 must really be a dumpster fire when the best politics coverage comes from a teen fashion magazine.”

Excuse me?!

We’re talking about the same teenagers obsessed with a musical about the birth of American politics, right?

As a young adult author, I realize I may be biased in my defense of teenagers, but a lot of the complaints lobbed against them are ridiculous. I saw a parent saying she would ground her child if they walked out in protest, that she’d talked to them and promised to punish them if they went through with it. And I’ve heard from both media and parents alike that these protests don’t even matter because “they can’t even vote.”

Which is insulting on multiple levels. The first being that they DID vote. Every presidential election, for I believe nearly a 100 years now, Scholastic has sponsored a nationwide School Vote, where children of all ages vote on their choice for president. Its had only been wrong twice in its history before this election, accurately predicting every other president weeks before the official election. And our nation’s children chose Clinton in a landslide victory, crushing Trump 52% to 32%, even after including third party votes.

And testing showed that if only millennials had voted, the nation would be so blue we’d be living in the arctic.

So they did vote. They chose who they thought would be best and we, the adults, the ones expected to make smart decisions, failed them.

Let’s not pretend they’re uneducated on the issues. It’s not the 1950s, as much as you might like to believe. We live in a digital age, education only a click away. And we’ve been taught to fact check. Growing up in a time when a viral video can lead to a guest appearance on Ellen, American youth learned long ago to find several external sources before believing anything we read online.

You should be proud. You raised us not to give away personal details or trust strangers on the internet and yet you want us to believe Hillary Clinton founded ISIS because you heard it on Facebook?

We’re going to be the ones living in this nation the longest, so I find it pretty selfish that you don’t think our opinion is important enough to consider.

You don’t get to complain about how millennials are killing the soap industry or wonder what the magic secret is to marketing for them when the answer is young people respect and frequent businesses and publications that don’t pander to them or treat them like the entitled, spoiled trophy brats you think they are but instead like intelligent, decent human beings who have a right to care about themselves and the future of their country.

Teen Vogue was one of the first publications to publish an article on the serious concerns in appointing Steve Bannon as chief strategist to the White House.

Teen Vogue continues to provide top notch political coverage, because that’s what it’s lipstick wearing, selfie-obsessed readers want.

Please and thank you, respecting your elders, your neighbors, the golden rule. Have you forgotten? Treat others as you would like to be treated. Why is it suddenly a bad thing to care about the rights of others? We’re taught not to bully, but it’s now okay to tell people to start envisioning their slave numbers or to tell children you hope their parents are deported?

Does anyone else see the irony in the fact the “me me me” generation is the one fighting for equality of all citizens?

Why do you want us to respect a presidency built on insulting people from all walks of life? How are little girls supposed to trust a man who boasts about selfishly grabbing them for himself like a toddler without any manners? How we are supposed to deal with the human version of a youtube comment conducting foreign policy?

Our nation was literally built on fighting back. This nation was founded on the idea that everyone should be equal, and time and time again we have fought to make that as true as we can. Slavery, suffrage, civil rights, equality. Time and time again, we have fought to better ourselves.

It’s not childish to care about your fellow man.

Here’s the thing, it’s very cool to mock younger generations. It has been since the dawn of time. But the youth of our nation is sick and tired of being blamed for your lack of innovation, for your resistance to change. You triple tuition and cost of living but refuse to raise minimum wage and then blame us for declining sales and write think pieces wondering why why we aren’t saving money. It’s not our fault you refuse to adapt.

We know how hard people have fought for the rights we enjoy. We know—we’ve seen people die fighting for basic rights and you know what? We do feel entitled. We know what it cost to get there and it’s not fair that we now have to spend our youth protecting rights we already had instead of implementing even better ones.

We’re done being blamed for your mistakes and we’re making it clear now: We didn’t want this. We fought. When it all starts to fall apart, we’re not going to let you turn the blame around on us. 2020 will the first time all millennials can vote in a presidential election, so get ready.

See you soon.

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