To the Editor:

As a high school educator, I often find myself engaged in conversation with older members of the populace who express concern for the future prospects of today’s youth. I agree that concern is warranted.

I would suggest, however, that the causes for concern most commonly cited in these conversations are misguided. A perceived lack of work ethic, excessive reliance on technology, inadequate education and sense of entitlement are often cited as reasons of concern for today’s youth. I reject these characterizations of our young people.

By and large, today’s students are better educated, more socially, politically and environmentally engaged, and far more accepting than preceding generations. Instead, I would suggest that the greed, ignorance and apathy of older generations have saddled younger generations with the following causes for concern:

1. A climate crisis not of their creating. Through no fault of their own, young people will have to endure the many social, economic and environmental hardships associated with the climate crisis.

2. A crumbling infrastructure and a government trillions of dollars in debt, all so the rich may grow richer and the military industrial complex may continue to enrich a few through the continuation of illegal wars that began before today’s high-school students were even born.

3. A society where access to affordable health care and college, opportunities older generations took for granted, are largely unattainable.

4. A society willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of people each year, so that we might maintain a right to possess a weapon with no utility other than to kill a human being. We can fix the gun violence epidemic in America. We choose not to, and our children participate in active-shooter drills because of this choice.

5. A society where sexism and racism have been normalized to the extent that we have elected a racist, sexual predator to the most powerful position within our government. 

To worry for the future of today’s youth is rational, but please understand, the reason for concern should not stem from any shortcomings in our young people. Instead, recognize that the greed, ignorance and apathy of previous generations have saddled our youth with the many challenges that should be cause for concern. 

Tony Riley

Longview Heights Road

Athens

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