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Young activists bear the burden of changing lives

We are living in one of the most powerful and developed nations in the world. Our wealth is unmatched, our military is indestructible. Yet in such a country, our chosen leaders continue to lack the guts and decency it takes to run it successfully. Time and again, we have seen our politicians select short-term gains over long-term benefits for our country. 

Despite the abnormal amount of gun-related deaths in school-age children, politicians continue to accept money and support from the National Rifle Association and refuse to even consider gun control. Despite the fact that whole cities continue to be literally poisoned by inadequate water supply, politicians ignored their citizens’ cries until public pressure forced them to. And despite the fact that climate change is a factual phenomenon, middle-aged and older politicians refuse to acknowledge it in order to secure their own individual power and wealth. Instead, the burden of fighting for these truths fell on young activists, who began sacrificing their time and education to fight for change. And this COVID-19 outbreak is showing us that once again, young people are stepping up where our politicians have failed us.

For the past few weeks as the pandemic has literally taken over the world, our most senior official, Donald Trump, has refused to acknowledge that it is a serious issue. He has repeatedly claimed that it was a hoax that would quickly go away. And if his words were not damaging enough, Trump’s actions have been downright dangerous. He has cut CDC’s funding by 80%. He has failed to ensure that enough testing kits are provided for the American people. And to make matters even worse, he fired Barack Obama’s entire pandemic response team back in 2018 and never rehired anyone to take their spot. The fact that this man continues to have supporters at this point is ridiculous. During the first few weeks of this pandemic, he continued to hold crowded public rallies, directly putting people in danger of spreading coronavirus. He continued to shake hands and disregard all protocol for containing the pandemic. It took mass hysteria and the stock market crashing before Trump declared a State of Emergency after most of the damage has already been done.

But you know who has been canceling rallies and urging people to stay home despite wanting to fight for a good cause? Greta Thunberg. A 17-year-old is more concerned about the health and safety of our nation, and the world, than Trump, “leader of the free world.” Do you know who has been helping share safety tips as well as where people can find food and resources in these difficult times? Ilhan Omar’s activist daughter Isra Hirsi. Why is a whole generation bearing the burden of accurately helping Americans during this pandemic, when actual paid leaders should be? Politicians are disregarding the words of scientists and doctors, while young people help spread them because they are actually concerned about the safety of the public. It is sad and ridiculous that young kids have to take up this responsibility. How is this going on in one of the wealthiest nations in the world?

Now, some might disagree entirely with these statements. They might see it as a positive thing that young people are actively invested in the future of their own generation. And I agree completely. It is refreshing to see that new generations of children are interested in changing the world for the better. However, they should not have to bear the majority of that burden. Young people should be safely in school securing an education that they can utilize to make change in the world. They should not be forced to give up their education to fight for basic human rights that our lawmakers should be protecting. The era of politicians putting their personal interests above that of the American people should be one of the past. It is time for change, and the fact that presidential elections are coming up opens up an avenue for the biggest kind of change.

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