Merrie B. Weiss
Young people today have it worse than previous generations, in some ways. Not only are there compulsory school attendance and work-related laws to deal with, there's also all the nonsense laws that curtail or prohibit activities you enjoy. Skateboarding seems close to becoming a capital offense, as is hanging out in malls or near stores almost everywhere in the US. Rather than being treated as the near-adults older teens are, they're often singled out simply because of their age for greater attention by store clerks, who seem to think every teen is hell-bent on shoplifting every speck of merchandise from the store. I understand the frustration you feel.
However, I've little sympathy for those among you who use that as an excuse to trash-talk society. While it's true things aren't that great, does whining about it contribute anything valuable? If you really want to get the attention of the adults around you--or more importantly, if you want things to change--take action to make a positive difference.
I've given up on my generation seeing the light of freedom; if it's going to happen in my lifetime it will come from young people. Despite how dark things look right now, we're seeing signs that not everyone is giving in. More and more young people are standing up for their rights, and making a difference. If you haven't done so yet, the time to start is now. The reasons to start are many: the sooner you start, the more of a difference you'll make; the experience you gain will help you be even more effective as an adult; and the younger you start, the more time you have to make a lot of difference.
Just what can you do right now? That depends on what you want to do, what you're comfortable with, and where your talents lie. You can lead and be in the limelight, or join in someone else's effort, and be in the background making a difference. You can educate others by writing and talking about freedom, or engage in political action that advances your beliefs. You can create art that speaks to others your age, that gets them involved too. You can perform acts of civil disobedience that let the powers that be know you won't bow meekly before them.
If you want specifics, see previous features in this section for links to various organizations and activism possibilities. Two worth mentioning again are Bureaucrash, and the Liberty Round Table's annual essay contest. Bureaucrash is a site designed by college students, to help spread ideas that counter the statist muck commonly found on campuses. The graphics are cool, and lots of its ideas are really in your face. The Liberty Round Table essays contest is for young people to write about an aspect of freedom that is particularly important to them. You can win money or some other prize while helping teach others about the importance of freedom.
People say they want a better world. Well, it isn't going to happen unless we work for it. And as the saying goes, "Practice makes perfect". So, go out there and get some practice in. We old folks who are still ringing the Liberty Bell will welcome your ideas and your efforts.
(c)2002 Doing Freedom Magazine
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