By Victoria Lynn Hall
A curious thing has happened to me since I began being outspoken about politics on social media: I have become young again.
Not to everyone, just to those who feel that my disagreeing with them is a sign of immaturity.
“When you’re my age you won’t be such an idealist,” someone told me in the course of arguing against the mere possibility of what I consider to be common sense policies.
“This group seems to be empowering young people, but not teaching them to respect those that have lived and worked before they arrived.” Another person said to me in a Facebook group after I pointed out the fact that a prominent, career politician was in the habit of blocking legislation that would possibly be against their own interests.
“Younger people have no respect for experience,” Someone else opined in one of my threads about how change was needed.
Sometimes I will point out to these people that I am actually fifty one years old, not because I take any offense to people assuming I am younger but rather to point out how lazy and prejudiced their argument is.
The fact is that any argument based on the superficial characteristics of the person that is presenting the opinion (or often in my case, facts) that one disagrees with rather than defending one’s own opinion (or offering other relative facts) is lazy and prejudiced.
It does not matter if I am old or young, black or white or even liberal or conservative – what matters is the substance of what I am saying and if it is not met with equal substance then there is no value to the debate and no progress to your cause can be made.
However, just to address this lazy and prejudiced age argument once and for all – I would like to point out that age does not guarantee wisdom and that youth is not inherently devoid of it. We are born knowing things that we forget and often become sheltered and insulated by our own constructs of reality, which may become more substantial as we get older. Being aware of the past may also keep us stuck in it. The lack of that awareness gives young people a fresher and more immediate perspective on the current reality than us older people may have.
Also, a quick inquiry into the age of many historical, revolutionary figures will tell you that age is not a prerequisite for making a positive impact on the world, politically or otherwise.
Ignoring or discounting a younger person’s voice and experience is no more okay than ignoring that of an older person’s.
I am not saying we will or should always agree. I’m not even saying we should even always try to get along. I’m just saying that no matter how old we are, we should argue about politics like grown ups and stick to the issues.
Because when we do that, there is so much we can learn from each other.
A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.