Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Next Generation...

Tonight I spoke to an American Government class at a local college. I do this kind of thing as often as I can but tonight was exhilarating! Nineteen kids, probably all under twenty, proved to me that they're about to change the world.

My goal was to teach them how to be involved in the political process. I told them how easy it is to lobby. Write an email, make a phone call, travel up to the Capitol and make your wish! I spoke for about a 1/2 hour before I decided to stop and ask some questions. I'm not sure why, but after reading them for a bit, I realized they were way above the kind of "easy" I was talking about. Before I knew it, we were talking about how to run for office, how to write legislation and how get it passed. Amazing.

They told ME how asking for basic rights is not asking for special rights. They told me that everyone deserves equality - that our families should recognize it, our employers should recognize it and our government should recognize it. I shared a little of my personal story about my battle around Gracie and I could see the question in their eyes. "What? How is that possible? And they tried to legislate your family?" They got it.

I like to think I was a pretty smart kid. I have always been curious about the politics in this country and I have even been known to be quite a patriot in some hoods. I voted for Reagan in a mock election in 4th grade and I couldn't wait to cast my first real vote in 1989. (I had changed parties by then) I take it seriously. I participate when asked. But these kids are for real! They are ready to go. Forget learning how to introduce yourself - jump in & change it up! It was wonderful.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs today and she talked about turning a corner into the "back in My day..." category. While I was reading it I thought, "oh, poor jbeeky, she must be Sooo old..." - not really. I mean, she is Not old. & I totally wouldn't think that about such a fantastic, amazing, young mother of two! :) What I really thought was, "I'm about to be heading to Forty". Some would say that's old. & sometimes I feel old. But tonight... tonight I felt like these kids have learned what they know from old people like me. (And jbeeky) Just like I have stood on the strong shoulders of those before me, they will now stand on mine and yours. And it felt good. I ended by telling them that because they have the "ability" to act, now they have the respons"ability" and I expect to see them put it to use.

They have my vote.