Okay, I get it. You are employed by someone, or are looking to be employed, or are applying for college, or don’t want to offend your friends, relatives, or neighbors by talking about your values on social media.
Is that really good enough?
Having Values Is A Good Thing
For every troll who wants to silence the #NotOneMore movement, there are hundreds (if not thousands) who will support it.
People of my generation (born circa 1960-70) seem to avoid controversial topics, in the main. Isn’t it ironic that those of us born in a political and social firestorm avoid publicly acknowledging what we value?
My initial reaction to the student-organized walk-outs yesterday was, “This is a bad idea. What if they get hurt? What will my community think of this ‘radicalism?’ How does this reflect on their teachers?” And, mind you, I have fully supported sensible gun control for years now, since Columbine.
Social Media Can Change Attitudes
Then, I read this post:
Christina Noel via Facebook March 14, 2018 at 12:59pm
“I’ve been seeing some posts about kindness being the solution for school shootings, and walk “ups” being promoted instead of walk “outs”. I just want to address that for one minute.
I agree that teaching kindness is very important. As the mother of an autistic child, I am pretty obsessive when it comes to promoting inclusion and kindness. But by positioning kindness as the alternative to school violence, it’s almost as if we are holding the students responsible for mass shootings at their schools. Can you imagine if a kiddo from Parkland saw those messages?
Children are not responsible for our culture of violence or for our failure to enact measures to keep them safe.
I tell you what, I’m gonna keep teaching kindness at home, but I am also going to keep working on gun safety because the data tells us that half of school shootings in our country are perpetrated with weapons acquired in the home. HALF! We could fix that just by compelling owners to be more responsible and store their firearms safely! Let’s make sure the onus stays with adults, where it belongs. We must teach kindness and we must address the laws and underlying cultural issues that continue to endanger our children. They deserve better.”
They Certainly Do Deserve Better
I know why I felt that students in my district should rethink a walk-out. I wanted to protect them.
There’s the irony. We aren’t protecting them. We continue to fail; and we blame them for bullying, being selfish and unkind, and being swayed by special interests. Yet all of those proclamations come back to bite us (the “grown-ups”) in the a**.
We are the ones who are selfish and unkind, swayed by special interests, and bullies.
Did you see this headline?
‘Skinhead lesbian’: GOP candidate attacks Parkland teen Emma Gonzalez
Have you seen anything like it coming from the student activists?
Are we teaching our children well? I guess that’s a rhetorical question. It seems that they have a few things to teach us. And, you know, I believe that they will succeed.
Today, I was driving across town listening to a report about how Florida (the “Gunshine” state) passed gun control legislation, and the power of a speech by a Florida State Representative that many believe helped pass that legislation. I started crying (not good while driving, but oh well).
After this, how can you not have the courage to say what you believe and stand up for what is right?
You Can Be Strong, And Respectful
Disagreeing with someone else’s beliefs is not disrespectful. It is one of the freedoms that our Constitution protects.
Attacking a person with false or inflammatory speech is, however, disrespectful. It is also illegal in some cases.
The next generation is more savvy with social media than we are. They understand the difference between expressing your opinion and verbally attacking someone. That is not to say that the younger generation is faultless in their use of social media – just that they understand its nuances better than we do.
Social Media Is Not Going Away, It Is a Part of Our Lives
In the wake of student-led protests, universities have come out with statements supporting student activism and free speech. Companies hiring new graduates are increasingly examining applicants’ social media profiles for activism and social interactions.
Our next leaders do not expect neutrality, and neither should we. Where has staying silent ever gotten us?
We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. – Elie Wiesel
A month ago, I felt hopeless. Today, I feel hope. How do you feel?
Featured photo credit: Fibonacci Blue, some rights reserved.
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Thank you for this post, Joann.
A bit of “we all pick our battles” and I agree, it is healthy to let it out somewhere, it is important to have our views heard.
Thanks for the thumbs up! I can certainly understand your point of view – it is shared by many!! It just happens to be the opposite for me. I am constantly biting my tongue so as not to start arguments in my own household 🙂 I mostly TRY to stay neutral, but I guess it has to come out somewhere, ha! Thank you so much for contributing your thoughts, it means a lot!
I found this post very challenging, so well done! I’m not very politically active on my social media. I guess I feel like a need a space where I can be free of that? My social media accounts are just one small part of who I am and I would like that to be a happy place for me. I accept your critism of that though.
You are so right! Our superpower is voting!
Great post! I believe these demonstrations are effective and critical to expressing our voices. But, my cynical side says the only way we are really going to make change is to hit our politicians where it hurts; with votes and money. I just hope we can finally do it this time bc we don’t have a moment to spare here.
Yes, it is so inspiring to see people taking a stand. Our representatives should be representing us!!
Excellent post, Pam. I’m hopeful that this tragedy has rekindled the spark of activism amongst the youth of America. The adults in the room have failed – these children must become the generation of change. They are masters of social media and who better to use it to facilitate much-needed reforms to our outdated gun control “laws”. Soon they’ll be voters and maybe the next wave of political leaders will emerge from their ranks. I personally feel that there should be student walk-outs every month until legislators get the message. “Power to the People” as John and Yoko sang!