The Split: How American Politics Are Pushing Teenagers Apart & Bringing Them Together

Photograph/Cindy Trinh, Activists of New York,

Photograph/Cindy Trinh, Activists of New York,

Editor’s Note: This featured article was written by 15-year-old Marlee Mellen, from Maine, United States.

In a time of greed and hatred so prevalent in our world kids are beginning to speak up. In fear for their futures and the futures of their children they take to the streets and yell. They yell of the injustice and the brutality, of the inequality and marginalization. They yell, and when they can’t keep yelling they turn to meticulously  crafted organizations they create to fight the system. This is the power in the kids, their rebellion of the broken systems. Yet, often through this rebellion there becomes a split between us. This is because of kids in MAGA hats and angry, uniformed children. We must have conversations between us, no matter how different we are, to .assure the future has a team of level headed, smart people who will end up the ones to saving  the world.

I won’t lie to you, a teenage boy in a MAGA hat makes me angry. It makes me feel a small sense of doom followed by a larger state  of confusion. You would think that a generation of teenagers raised under such harsh political and societal norms would understand the severe breaks in the system. Yet, I see that we aren’t all left wing social justice warriors and that’s okay; as long as you’re fighting for something. But, some teens have completely left this to the others; prioritizing the ideal high school experience of football games and parties over serious issues posed in their communities and I get it, and I’ve been there, but, this more than anything creates the divide.

I haven’t always been an activist, I once thought that a friday night basketball game was more important than a team meeting. That is until I was recruited to run March For Our Lives (MFOL) Maine. I had already been into social justice when it was convenient for me, going to marchs and posting on social media. Once I became director for MFOL Maine though, I understand the need for youth activism. There is no fun and easy way to change the world. It is late nights and tragedies to open the eyes of the people. Teens can no longer see this world break at their feet and stand silently.

If you don’t fight for something, like gun reform or racial justice, you fight against it. There is no middle ground any longer. American politics needs to change for the better, and if you don’t fight for what you believe in, then where do you stand? This is no longer a bipartisan issue, as I have more respect for some republicans who share their views, than individuals who stay silent in the face of adversity. We no longer are guaranteed a free pass to look away from darkness and despair, we must look into it. We must be the light.