I am not criticizing or diminishing our valiant young to say that their strong protests will likely not cause significant change.
There are, I think, two reasons for this: one corporate and one personal.
The parents of these protestors are not going to enlarge the impact of their permissiveness to taking actions to fight for the protestors as inheritors.
We have to admit that without a bitter struggle on the part of adults, these warriors will not be able to bring about change.
They are not represented on corporate boards in either the profit or the non-profit sector. What comfortable middle-class board wants to cope with these troublemakers? They would not easily conform to corporate norms on the part of boards and investors.
Every investment would be questioned about its climate effect.
Nor are they represented equally in voter registration roles, because of their disillusionment with our bankrupt system, whether labeled Democratic or Republican—our Democratic representatives quickly buckle when their local interests are involved, as is happening here in New Mexico with the disastrous expansion of “our” nuclear industry—or through difficulties with our cumbersome registration requirements, lack of a car to get to polling places, or problems with literacy, or with the English language, or with fear of ICE.
The absence of these young voices puts our whole political system out of whack, particularly here in New Mexico, where fifty percent of our population speaks Spanish.
If these valiant troublemakers do not inherit from their less innovative, prosperous white parents (and this could be particularly true for girls because of heavier social requirements and the still lingering rule of primogeniture), they will never be members of the ruling class.And it is the white ruling class and its sycophants and political servants that prevent change.
That rebellious generation, now grandparents, did not succeed in passing their rebellious virtues on to their children, or their grandchildren.
The innate conformity in marriage and childrearing seems to prevent it.
Who wants to stand at the altar or its substitute and, in addition to vowing adherence to a person or a religious code, vow adherence to rebellion?
It might be the grandparents in the audience who would be most horrified.
Who wants to vow at a nursery school parental interview—now held when the applicant is as young as three—that inequality in hiring or the use of fossil fuels in the school would not be tolerated?
End of interview.
I’m not blaming no spring chickens; I am one of them, and I have never taken part in any such battle, even had the battle existed. I did not want to see my descendants left out of the system, including those who would be cut out as potential troublemakers, for which there are a multitude of excuses, impoverished, or driven into the wilderness.
The experience is soul-strengthening, but we live in a world that does not always recognize the existence of soul.
And perhaps the widespread upper class white parental project of permissiveness which grants small children many decisions previously committed to their parents has developed a level of independence in our offspring that may be hard to control politically.
Nevertheless, rise up, no spring chickens! The future of our offspring, and of our planet, probably depends on us.