Like the Carnival cruise ship adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, America too, has experienced an engine failure. During the State of the Union Address, our “captain” assured us that everything is fine. Meanwhile, the overflowing sewage of our nation’s fiscal and moral irresponsibility is bringing our big party as a world superpower to a sputtering end.
It’s time to be honest folks; it’s the “older generation” that’s keeping American exceptionalism afloat – barely. As my generation, Generation Y, ages into it twenties and early thirties, we hold out our proverbial hands to receive the torch of liberty from our forefathers and mothers, who achieved great feats like civil rights, built and rebuilt the world’s financial centers, declared war on terrorism, and dragged us from the bag-phone to the iPhone. And it is we who are at risk of dropping it.
With respect to liberty, Thomas Jefferson instructed that, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” So far, America’s young adults have not been eager to sacrifice their lives for their country’s convictions. We are less patriotic than our parents. Just above half of 18- to 25-year-olds call themselves patriotic, and only 31 percent of this age group is willing to serve in the military, according to a Polimetrix survey. And the pressure to abandon the free market system in exchange for President Obama and the Left’s socialist rhetoric is enormous.
I’ll give you a glimpse into the roundtable talks of America’s young adults. We’re frustrated with both sides of the political aisle. We are apathetic to politics, because we’ve been handed a political climate where civil discourse does not exist. We are apathetic to the fiscal crisis, because we’re told our retirement years will be crippled under the mounting deficit. We’re apathetic to the idea of liberty and democracy, because we were handed a freedom which cost us nothing. We’re apathetic to the culture of death, because we’ve witnessed our fellow students mass murdered at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, and now Sandy Hook.
Honestly, how can my generation take on the role as defenders of liberty when we have not been taught the value of human life? How can we confront human trafficking, oppression, or genocide when we are spilling the blood of America’s most vulnerable – the unborn? The answer is “We cannot.”
For my generation to recognize the sanctity of all human life will be our first big step towards exceptionalism. Consider history’s greatest defenders of liberty. In the wake of King George III’s religious persecution, Thomas Jefferson exclaimed, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis?” While igniting the woman’s rights movement, activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, “When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.” Fueling the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King wrote from a Birmingham jail, “Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.”
Following the examples of these great leaders will take sacrifice, determination, and a willingness to upset the status quo. But the Left tells us to seek peace, not war. Oh, we can occupy entire cities for months, but we better not host sit-ins outside of abortion clinics. “Don’t rock the boat,” they say. And yet it was Mother Teresa who warned, “The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion, because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.”
It is a glimmer of hope that America’s youth are more pro-life than their parents and grandparents, who were responsible for spearheading the legalized abortion movement. According to Gallup, 72% of teens in America believe abortion is morally wrong, and a mere 19% believe it should be legalized. Just a few weeks ago, I witnessed hundreds of thousands of my peers marching the sidewalks of the nation’s capital to make a statement for life. And although our march was largely ignored by the mainstream media, our anti-abortion sentiment is being noticed by our state legislators. In 2011 alone, a record-high 92 new state laws were passed to limit abortions in 24 states.
I believe that Roe v. Wade will be overturned in my lifetime. But even if it is not, for my generation to abandon the desire for that so-called “right” would go a long way in righting the wrong done by the excesses of some of our predecessors.
For America, it’s sink or swim. For America’s young adults, it’s time to take our place as defenders of liberty and human rights. If we make the value of life our priority, then we will prove ourselves exceptional Americans and turn the direction of this nation back toward greatness.
Kenneth L. Ervin, II, policy analyst with Concerned Women for America, contributed to this article.