Amazing Kids

I have spent the last few years miserable about the world. Despite the lessons we should have learned from history, politicians and governments are spreading their fascistic wings. Some politicians are clearly out for themselves and don’t care one lick about the destruction they leave in their wake. In fact, it seems to be their goal. Millions of people in Asia, Russia, Europe, and the United States are telling their governments what they want from them, but instead of listening to these people and trying to make people’s lives better, politicians and governments press forth with nonsensical and outdated notions.

It’s enormously demoralizing to see the direction which many leaders are actively taking their people and countries. They do so with no bases in fact, but rather use their own peddled conspiracy theories and outright lies to instigate and divide. There seems to be no end to this but adding to their own power. These things have made me very depressed.  

This depression was compounded just a day ago, when the republican-led state of Georgia pressed forth legislation to make voting much harder. American republicans have long understood that the more people who vote, the less they get elected. So, instead of expanding their ideas to welcome others in, they have become proficient in the art of cheating. They suppress votes, gerrymander, and make it incredibly difficult to vote via various methods. And now – when they somehow manage to lose after applying their underhanded tactics – they have simply gone to pointing to the other side and shrieking “you rigged the election!” Imagine the gall!

The Georgia GOP is basing their rationale for their voting restrictions on Donald Trump’s claims that an election he got his ass kicked in was stolen from him. Trump has made these claims about every election he’s lost – an Emmy award and the Iowa caucus – when the thief was Ted Cruz, who was probably more distracted by his JFK-killing father and his evidently unattractive wife to do much about it.

On Friday, I was despairing, without optimism. So it was with a great heaving sigh that I sat down at my computer to write some articles for a kids’ ESL coursebook. I write with a light style on subjects that usually aren’t very heavy. But today I did not feel like it. I wrote about spooky jobs, extreme weather, and the world’s extremes. And then in the afternoon, with a cup of coffee at hand, I began researching the articles I’d found on kids who volunteer.

In the top of the Word Document I typed “Cool Kids” and cracked my knuckles. I read through the four articles about kids trying to make the world a better place and made notes. In about five minutes, my jaw was hanging open as if I was a cartoon dog. In about ten minutes, I think I was teary-eyed. One 8-year-old kid lost her friend to cancer and has since not only raised money for cancer research, but also collects pajamas and toys for kids in cancer wards. One girl named Marley Dias donates books with black female protagonists. She has donated 11,000 to date. One boy dresses like the American President and gives optimistic inspirational talks on YouTube – at the age of 8! There’s Greta Thunburg and Malala Yousafzai, two teenage girls from very different cultures, one trying to save the planet, one trying to make education available to girls everywhere.

Maybe these two young women embody the current generation’s battle with established politicians and society. By every parameter available to a logical mind, these two young ladies are doing good and trying to make the world better. And yet, Greta has been viciously attacked by people on the right, Donald Trump himself having wielded his tiny little micro-penised rants at her. Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban member for her views on women’s education. Could there be a clearer metaphor?

If the generation of politicians in power had the same sort of humanity as these (and other) young people, the world would be a better place. But instead of listening, politicians are trying to squash their voices, and so these young people have taken it upon themselves to make the world better. There is a girl in New York educating people about declining bee communities. There’s a boy named Jaylen who was bullied for his psychological issues and has educated over 100,000 kids about OCD and Tourette’s. There’s a boy who spends his free time making lunches for homeless people, another who collects clothes for homeless people, another who has actually added to the treatments for cancer, and another who has come up with new ways to recycle more efficiently. I could honestly go on and on and on.

By the time I was finished researching, I wanted to add all of the kids I’d read about to my article. I was and am stunned and impressed by these young people. I finished my article and saved it under the edited title “Amazing Kids.” I walked away from my computer feeling something I had not felt in a while: hope. I honestly can’t wait to hand over the world to them, I only hope we have a world to hand over.         

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