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What Was The Message?

Marlene Geiser

Posted on March 25, 2018 21:41

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For those of you who saw an eleven year old girl speak at The Young People's Rally in Washington on Saturday, perhaps some who read my words may feel a sense of identity with them.

Yesterday, an eleven year old girl spoke at The Young People's Rally in Washington DC. Listening to her words, I felt more hope for this country than I have for quite a while.

As the proud grandmother of a young woman who is presently applying to teach in the elementary schools back in Illinois, I have often written to her father saying that if there is any hope for the future of our nation, it lies with the young.

Having taught American politics at the college level for many years, I devoted much of my time in the classroom trying to engage my students in what for me was a significant dialogue. Textbooks were not very important to me, so I asked the people in my classes to respond to the questions I placed in my syllabi, bringing an open discussion that I prayed might help change their thinking. My primary goal was to call their attention to the responsibility they had as American citizens. Voting was only one aspect of this. What really meant most to me was to awaken them to what really mattered, and that continues to be my vision of how this nation can survive in a world that daily makes me fearful for humanity.

If our young people choose to accept the status quo, there appears to be little that one can look forward to. And as an individual who will undoubtedly not be around to see what can potentially happen, I spent most of my time in the classroom trying to open their eyes to what -- for me -- represents our only real hope.

When an eleven year old girl stands before an audience of her peers and is capable of communicating her sense of responsibility as a citizen, I feel that all is not over yet. My fear that our generation has lost its way, and that political party affiliation no longer represents a dramatic difference in philosophy, keeps me awake at night worrying that whatever we once appeared to represent in the world no longer is alive. All that I keep hoping is that our young people, who will be those who inevitably make the decisions for this nation, are still aware of the mistakes we appear to be making and offer a viable solution.

My granddaughter did her student teaching in an elementary school where most of the students came from underprivileged families. She saw her responsibility was to help them realize the premise of which I write, and thus encourage their pursuit of education as the key to giving their lives meaning. I know that her teaching will communicate this message.

Watching that young African American girl on the television screen deliver an extremely moving speech corroborated what I have said all along: The kind of tomorrow the United States can look forward to must be predicated upon the young who will lead. That remains my nightly prayer.

Marlene Geiser

Posted on March 25, 2018 21:41

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