Dear Young People

 

Dear Young People,

Here is my message to you:

Up until last week, I believed that many who had voted for Trump, people I know and love, would never, under any circumstances, condone someone crossing state lines with an automatic weapon to go to a protest and kill two people. I would never have believed that this sort of indoctrinated hatred and lawlessness would be something they could defend.

But two things happened in the past few days that have shown me that I’m naive, and that people are dishonest about their true intentions: The first is that over 200 thousand dollars has been raised by a so-called Christian group and a far-right party for Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense. The second is that someone I deeply respected, whom I truly believed had such pure religious convictions that the pro-life party was his first option, told me that he would vote for Trump, no matter what, rather than a liberal president.

Yesterday Donald Trump came out and defended a murderer, a domestic terrorist. Way back when I lived in New York in the eighties and nineties, before you were born, I, who’d interviewed Giuliani, who’d even had him come to my classroom, learned through my journalistic investigations that Trump was a thief who stole from the City of New York, who colluded with the Mafia and was in bed with Russians and Saudis. I learned it then, decades ago. That’s why, in 2016, I knew if he became president he would treat the United States Treasury like his personal piggy bank, and his position as a nepotistic opportunity for his family and friends.
What I didn’t know was that he would be a party to murder, that he would ignore the threat of Putin, and that he would create his own Fascist party out of the former Republican party. And I didn’t know that people I genuinely thought highly of, would see him doing that, and deny, deny, deny it. It’s soul-crushing to me to lose my faith in the good of people this way. But, it is what it is, and it’s happened before, including in Germany, in a society that was highly developed and highly educated.

I am in the last third of my life. For all of my adult years, I’ve tried to listen, to learn, to teach, to be morally upright and just, to give people the benefit of the doubt, to walk in their shoes, to lead with love instead of fear and hate. It sickens me that it’s come to this, in this country, a dream born of such a different purpose, one that spoke of opportunity for all. I’ll be gone before all of what this administration has done comes home to roost completely. It will affect you most, it will affect your children. It’s up to you to save yourself, and save them.

Your first and most vital task is to vote. If it didn’t mean anything, they wouldn’t be trying so hard to take that right away from you. You need to vote in all the local elections, because greed, corruption, opportunism start there. There are people running in local elections right now, who are running unopposed. They are QAnon, they are sex offenders, they are far-right wing, so-called Christian fundamentalists. They will win by default, they will rise up in the ranks, and while they’re doing so, they will strip you of your libraries, your education, your remaining civil rights, all in the name of what they fear most, which, by the way, is YOU. They are afraid of you. You need to vote in those elections, and stop those people from gaining power.

You need to register as a Republican as soon as you can, so you can vote in their primary, so that the more reasonable, moderate Republican will win the next nomination. You need to tell people you are Republican so that you are not blocked from voting. I am a registered Republican and the propaganda I am sent would curl your hair. You need to read it, and understand what your neighbors and friends are being told about the left. The lies are mind-boggling, but they’re being printed and sent out to millions every day.

You need to support better candidates. We should not be voting by “the lesser of two evils,” because evil is still evil, and we’ll still be living under evil if that’s the way we see our choices. Don’t for one minute think there are not corrupt, despicable politicians in the Democratic party too. (I can give you a list.) Anyone can say they believe in equal rights for all, just as anyone can say they’re a Christian, or that they believe in gay rights, or that they don’t believe in gay rights, when in actual fact, they are gay, but their bigoted religions do not allow them to admit it. Anyone can say they’re not racist, or that they’re looking out for your best interests. Deception is everywhere. People will tell you what you want to hear. But they can’t hide who they are forever. Sooner or later, it leaks. I learned that this week.

You need to be kind to people who have been brainwashed by their parents, their teachers, their religious leaders, their neighbors. Mocking them, hating them, ridiculing them will only make them believe the lies they’re being fed. Every human being wants to be part of a group, wants to belong. Right now, Kyle Rittenhouse is a ‘hero’ to his group. The day may come, when and if he goes to jail, that he realizes what he’s done, what his parents and associates brainwashed him into doing. He’s a victim too, but he is alive, and two people are not, thanks to his hand, and those who were guiding it.

We have to talk to people like him–people who’ve been surrounded all their lives by those who will use them as tools. They need our compassion, not our hatred. They have heartbreaks, they have reasons for what they think is right. Find out what those reasons are. Don’t be angry, don’t be smug, or self-righteous. You are no more ‘enlightened’ than they are–you only think you are.

You need to vote. You need to stand up for each other–your skateboard against their automatic weapons, your cellphone recorder against their knee on someone’s neck.

Every human gets assigned a skin color before we’re even born. We don’t get to choose. It’s random. We’re not “special” or “blessed” because we’re born with certain melanin, or into a certain ethnic group or religion. When you look at the guy who was shot in the back, you must say to yourself, “That could have been me. That could still be me.”

Unless you vote, unless you stand on those long lines, Trump is going to win this election, I’m sorry to say. To start, people I thought would never dream of voting for him again are going to do so. Nothing he has said or done so far has shaken his followers, and nothing will. I know this now. If you can go to a protest, which is exciting, you can stand on a line, which is boring, but it will have a greater effect.

It doesn’t make a difference in my life anymore, personally. Apart from our finances being ravaged by COVID mismanagement and policies that have once again gutted the upper-middle class while giving feasts to billionaires and corporations, and a mere sprinkling of crumbs to those for whom 1200 dollars is truly a help. But we–my husband and I–will weather this storm, as we have so many over our lifetime.

But you might not. You’re blamed for everything that’s wrong with our country. You are not at fault. Depression and suicide rates amongst the young are at an all-time high, and your opportunities are fewer than my generation’s, and even fewer than the generation prior to mine. Healthcare. College tuition. (Is it even worth it to go to college anymore?) Housing. Civil Rights. They’re all being sucked dry, right out from under you, while we’re all kept distracted by silly issues.

No matter where you fall on the ideological scale, whether you see yourself as a liberal or a conservative, you are seen by the powers that be as nothing more than a patsy, a fall guy, a Joe Sixpack. You’re their cannon fodder, their cash cow, their ticket to a life of luxury and depravity with no consequences. That’s all you are to any politician. And yet some of you will take the easy way out, vote always blue or always red, because that’s what we’re told.

Going back to the person who told me, he’d vote Republican, “no matter what.” A month ago, I found out that a Democrat who I voted for is aware of and turns a blind eye to, a miscarriage of law in Nevada that is costing people like you and me everything we have. It would be foolish, to say the least, for me to vote for this person again. But I was asked by some die-hard Democrats, “Are you sure she’s involved?” As I would be asked by die-hard Republicans, were she a Republican and not a Democrat.

Yes, I am sure. Whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction, I research for a living. I have the time to do the research, so I do it. And yet, when I tell people what I know, if it’s not something they want to hear, they won’t hear it. I don’t mean they won’t investigate it, I mean they simply will not believe it. Just like that. They won’t even consider the possibility. Nor will they believe anyone else who offers proof that something they think or believe is inaccurate. Because they don’t want to. No one wants to. None of us.

No one wants to be wrong, because to be wrong, means to feel unsure, and to feel unsure means to feel unsafe. They would rather ‘feel’ safe even if it’s an illusion, they would rather live in the comfort zone they’ve invented for themselves, never knowing if they could have led a fuller, richer, more rewarding life, had they not taken that easier route. Their first choice is FEEL safe, feel comfortable in their zone, until their final comfort zone of a casket or an urn.

Don’t be like this. Ask questions.  Don’t join only the groups that feed back to you what you already think you know. Join groups that make you anxious, nervous, that make you question. Find out what they know or what they’re being told. Ask and learn. Always, and all through your life. Knowledge is power. Why do you think entertainment news shows exist? So you won’t question. So you will just blindly believe, so you will be afraid of change, and so you will do what they tell you to do, and vote how they tell you to vote.

ASK. LEARN. TEACH. VOTE. Fight for the life you deserve. You only get one.

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