This keeps happening, and I want to mention it.
Every once in a while, as I am wont to do, I get into a bit of an argument or a conversational clash online. Often others get involved, people commenting, whether to attack what I’m saying or more stupidly, they go for an ad hominem attack, blissfully unaware that they’ve just dismissed themselves from any serious consideration. Often, the lines are predictable, you look up some attacker’s profile, and you find out they are, essentially, fascists. Not to make random generalizations, and I don’t mean to apply this to every individual case, because there are always wonderful beautiful, exceptions, but often enough, and predictably at this point, the fascism comes from the usual groups; older people, or people who think they’re the ‘elite,’ supposedly well-educated people with the brains of a decapitated rabbit. They can’t hold their sides in an argument, they don’t understand the very basics of logic, and they resort, quickly, to insults and lies. They’re vacant. This would sound sad, but it isn’t because something else happens, and often enough to almost make me tear up in joy – the young.
Usually, I fend for myself well enough, but nothing makes me happier than to sometimes see others, younger people, take up the fight, and I don’t mean people in their 30’s or their 20’s. I’ve walked away from arguments because I’ve seen my side deftly taken care of by people in their teens, despite the peer pressure you might imagine they’d be under, despite the risks of ostracization from their friends, communities, or even their families. I’ve seen the young understand, both intuitively and logically, what the others fear so much. I’ve seen them not only take the torch but burn it brighter, finer, and with beautiful, wonderful displays of confidence and wit. I’ve seen a 15-year-old in Idaho take on a whole bunch of idiots who attacked a political post I made years ago, about Iraq, on deviant art. We spoke because I was so impressed with how well he handled himself, how well he put his arguments, and how well informed he was, and he introduced me to Anti-Flag, a punk band that I now sometimes listen to. He told me that he had few friends. He was in a small town, and most of the kids at his school were drones, playing out their socially designated roles. It made him a bit of a loner. His family, he said, were equally distant from him. He was, in a sense, his own microcosm of justice and reason, and he was fine with that. He was strong. Stronger than so many, so many, so many older people with better opportunities and more forgiving environments. Equally, during the better days of our revolution, I met countless young men and women, both brave and noble, far nobler than I could ever have hoped to be at their age. I sometimes run into other young people here through Facebook and Twitter. Young people standing up to insults and abuse. To be so young, and so right, and already to be accused of treason and sabotage, and they take it. It’s not easy, as any of you should know who has ever been treated unjustly or insulted for bearing truth, but they do it. They keep their inner fires burning. They endure what older, supposedly powerful people cannot bear. They endure peer pressure, a constant risk of harassment by both the state and their families, and they say the truth, they argue the truth, they do as best as you can imagine doing, and they do it with smiles, and with hearts so huge it pains me to imagine them.
Just yesterday, I wrote a post that some people found objectionable, on a group page whose members are supposedly well educated and diverse, people who’ve had a liberal education but appear to have understood very little of it, who have taken the mud and left behind the gold. In the midst of it all, I see a young man, sharp of wit, thank the person who insulted me because, he said, the insult allowed him to see my original posting. He was sharp, and he was funny, and he just confronted the abuse with a smile. He knew that his enemy was dimwitted and slow, he knew the battle was over even before it had begun, and he basked in that knowledge. I checked his profile, and again, he was young – could not be more than 18.
The young are the very best of us. They embody the principles that their parents have taught but dare not practice. When their parents are found wanting, they seek their own truths, their own creeds, their own methods, and their own paths. This is why, in the end, there is little to fear.
It may take a while, it may take too long, by our reckoning, we may not live to see a better world, but so long as there are young people born into this world, and so long as they retain their ability to see so much of what we have become blind to, so long as they know and understand not to learn our idiocies, our prejudices, and our hatred of one another, the world will heal. The best of them are beautiful and wonderful, witty and wise, and I love them for it, almost more than this old heart of mine can fathom.