The Observer, that old rabble-rouser, is watching these kids today, these American Daughters and American Sons who’ve clapped on their helmets and gone off to battle for the people they love and the people they lost to greed and violence and those who love guns more than they love a child, with something approaching a parental level of pride. If you’ve watched this space, you’ll remember that Yours Truly made some predictions right after Dorito Mussolini was elected, and chief among them was the idea that the generation now in high school or otherwise on the cusp of adulthood would be the ones The Observer’s been waiting for, a generation of patriots who are going to drive out the darkness and call bullshit on the stuff the rest of us have been tolerating for 30 or 40 years for fear of rocking the mortgage, economic, two-point-five-kids and a picket fence boat. You tell a generation there’s no hope for them — that their voices don’t matter, that the earth they give to their kids is going to be a globally warmed hellscape lit only by the fires from oil refineries and burning landfills, that they are doomed to either sling fries at Burger King or cling to lower-middle-class, white-collar wage slavery while paying interest on $60,000, or $70,000 or $100,000 in inescapable student loan debt — and watch what they do. Germany and Japan once threatened the hope of a whole generation of Americans, and look what those brave young people did to fix Hitler’s little red Volkswagen.
What? You think that Greatest Generation stuff petered out with the coming of rock ‘n’ roll? It’s still there. Squeeze a person hard enough, and that fight will surface quicker than you think.
In short, if The Machine doesn’t work to better peoples’ lives, eventually some of those people will either rise up to break the machine or — better — take control of the levers that run the damned thing. That’s what we’re seeing right now in Florida, The Observer thinks, and we couldn’t be prouder seeing these young folks in the streets and on TV, being so brave for their friends who can no longer fight, all the while getting called “crisis actors” and worse by the ignorant shills of suit-and-tie death merchants whose hands are so slippery with blood they must have trouble twisting the doorknob to get out of the house every morning. What you are seeing is yet another generation of Americans that is ready to rage against the dying of the light, which is, come to think of it, the only way to renew the fuel in the great lamp that lights the way to a better America. While your bitter, proudly ignorant uncle who watches a lot of Fox News and has a “Rush is Right!” bumper sticker on his Dodge Dart may not like it one little bit, what you are seeing, dear countrymen, is the awakening of a generation of people who grew up knowing that if Barack Obama could be twice elected president of a country that once sanctioned the ownership of people who look like him and his children, anything on earth is possible. Lil’ Donnie Trump can use his tiny hands to sign all the executive orders he wants. He can repeal all the Obama-era regulations he wants. He can rail on Twitter about Obama all the livelong day, as if he could ever beat Generation Tweet on their digital home turf. But he’s never going to kill the greatest legacy of his predecessor: the belief that anything is possible in a country so bighearted as this. That legacy lives now in these kids today, who grew up witnessing a political reality that many of their parents would have assured them was impossible in their lifetimes as few as a dozen years ago.
So keep up the good work, Young Folks. The Observer is with you, and believes in you. As we’ve said a time or three in this space: Our feet hurt and our hair is gray, but if you will have somebody who still doesn’t have an Instagram account, we’re ready to stand with you.