EDITORIAL: Winter is Coming
Amid ridicule and threats, Millennials are finding their political voice
On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard killed four and injured nine other unarmed Kent State University students on campus protesting America’s involvement in Cambodia.
It’s a day that lives in infamy. It remains one of the most outrageous attacks on the First Amendment by government officials in our nation’s modern history. It is an event that has served as a cautionary tale against government intervention during times of political protest.
Last week, the University of California-Berkley was forced to cancel an appearance by conservative columnist and Breitbart News editor, Milo Yiannopoulous. A massive protest, which included students and others, was organized in response to the scheduled visit of the self-proclaimed social media troll, who was banned by Twitter for attacking “Saturday Night Live” actress Leslie Jones.
Following the UC-Berkley protest, Dan Adamini, secretary of the Marquette County Republican Party, posted on Twitter that it’s “time for another Kent State perhaps.”
This threat of democide, or the murder of citizens by their government, is repulsive. But Adamini’s words reflect a sentiment held by many Republicans — especially Baby Boomers.
“Stop whining, we won, you lost.”
“Get over it, snowflake.”
“Go back to your safe space.”
These are common messages directed to millennials by middle-aged men and women who have taken up a hobby of trolling on social media. Their message is clear: Shut up and wait your turn. We are still in control.
If standing up to discriminatory immigration bans, opposing billion-dollar walls and billionaire cabinet leaders, encouraging senators to speak out during confirmation hearings and battling bigots and fear-mongering rhetoric makes us snowflakes — get ready to be hit by a blizzard.
Remember learning about the Boston Tea Party or Shay’s Rebellion? Protest and using our First Amendment right to free speech has always been the foundation of America’s democracy. The tradition is something conservative Baby Boomers only support when it’s convenient for them, or reflects their polarized set of ideals.
Following the Kent State shooting, Central Michigan University students occupied the former R.O.T.C building, Central Hall, for five days of protest beginning May 4, 1970. They occupied Warriner Mall for 11 days.
Fearing another Kent State, former CMU President William Boyd held off state and city government officials from removing the students by force. He allowed them to protest, vent and peacefully came to an agreement to end the sit-in.
Our former university president recognized the power of students expressing their right to protest. Government leaders and Boomers today need to do the same.
Nearly 50 years after the most heated social and political activism in our nation’s history, we find ourselves in a similar place of contention.
Just as the generations before us, the political voices of Millennials are growing louder.
The power of America’s largest living generation is just beginning to be seen in the streets of Ferguson, Baltimore, Berkley, Washington D.C., Standing Rock, on the ballot and in the voting booth.
Soon, the Millenial generation will control conversations that will dominate the national rhetoric.
This is frightening for conservative Baby Boomers. The shift away from them is terrifying.
As they take to their Facebook accounts to debate in the comment sections, America’s youth must not be deterred from engaging politically with their words.
This is our time to shape America. It is our turn. We won’t be shut down or quieted. We won’t be threatened.
Call us snowflakes for wanting to being socially aware and culturally tolerant. Tell us we are whiners for denouncing a president who mocked a disabled reporter, talked about grabbing women by the “pussy,” closed our borders on a whim and Tweets like a 10th-grader.
We don’t care.
Threaten to cut our funding, arrest us or even shoot at us if you wish. Millennials won’t stop.
Winter is coming. Get ready for the blizzard.