Dis­dain of our youth a dis­grace

The Gympie Times - - YOUR SAY - COLIN CLARIDGE

SUF­FER the chil­dren.

Be­cause cer­tain politi­cians and com­men­ta­tors have ramped up on the old Vic­to­rian era prin­ci­ple: They want you to be nei­ther seen nor heard.

As a Chris­tian, I feel my­self be­ing com­pelled to take is­sue with a pre­pos­ter­ous no­tion that the adults cur­rently in charge are bet­ter equipped in the wis­dom de­part­ment to han­dle the next gen­er­a­tions’ fu­tures.

We should be en­cour­aged that, con­trary to the stereo­typ­i­cal im­age of the younger set as be­ing ap­a­thetic and ig­no­rant and al­ways hav­ing their faces buried in one elec­tronic de­vice or an­other, it ap­pears vast swathes of them ac­tu­ally do want to par­tic­i­pate in so­ci­ety and not have their fu­tures mapped out for them.

It is there­fore ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing that some politi­cians were last week so pa­tro­n­is­ing of school chil­dren de­mand­ing ac­tion on cli­mate change.

One can only ex­press ut­ter con­tempt of some politi­cians and com­men­ta­tors who, this week, ramped up that at­tack on youth as a bunch of hyp­o­crit­i­cal sponges; want­ing ac­tion on the myth (they al­lege) of cli­mate change while suck­ing up all the elec­tric­ity in their air-con­di­tioned class­rooms.

Politi­cians and voices in the me­dia should be noth­ing but en­cour­ag­ing of our young peo­ple to ac­tively en­gage in is­sues that di­rectly con­cern their fu­tures, re­gard­less of whether their views are in agree­ment with them.

It shouldn’t be for the likes of me to have to re­mind them that that is how democ­racy is sup­posed to func­tion. Is it any real sur­prise that or­di­nary peo­ple are so turned off by the no­tion of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the po­lit­i­cal process if all some with the power can do is howl them down?

The eco­log­i­cal state of this planet and the se­cu­rity of its sur­vival should be a no-brainer. But it con­tin­ues to be a truth that the ma­jor par­ties bat­tle to un­der­stand or know how to deal with. They seem too pre­oc­cu­pied on the one point of keep­ing power prices down (for purely po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests) and fail to see how the dots all join up.

It is clear to so many what needs to be done but those we trust to gov­ern us are far too en­trenched with the sta­tus quo. What sort of vi­sion do they have of the fu­ture for our youth? Do they ac­tu­ally have a vi­sion com­pat­i­ble with our youths’ ex­pec­ta­tions?

Gen­e­sis 1:28 says that God said to the first hu­mans: “Have many chil­dren, so that your descen­dants will live all over the earth and bring it un­der their con­trol.”

He didn’t com­mand that we do what we like with it. Nor did He de­clare that it would be pleas­ing to Him if we set about wip­ing out var­i­ous species He had cre­ated be­cause we had no eco­nomic use for them.

Now that point might come as a shock to the likes of old Barn­aby and Clive, who’ve al­ways seemed so dis­dain­ful of pro­tect­ing those pesky lit­tle frogs and finches.

Some­times, it seems to me that it is just for the sake of po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency that some politi­cians pro­fess hav­ing faith in God when they are so ready to dis­miss the value of any­thing they can’t dig up, har­vest or herd over­seas for profit.

The more cyn­i­cal might ask why God would al­low bad things to be­fall mankind. Why would He al­low the planet to be in peril if He made it? Why doesn’t He step in and stop peo­ple be­ing at risk?

But they for­get that we were cre­ated with a free will and the abil­ity to hope­fully think things out for our­selves. If that hadn’t been the case, God would have stopped at cre­at­ing caged bud­gies.

But we are also wil­ful crea­tures and some in power think they know bet­ter. But it’s clear that they don’t. Is their pro­fessed faith re­ally in the God who cre­ated ev­ery­thing or is their faith in in­tractable po­lit­i­cal ide­olo­gies which are mak­ing a mess of it?

Some can­not see the big­ger pic­ture past the price of elec­tric­ity. It’s an is­sue not en­tirely the fault of the en­ergy providers. The fault falls at the feet of politi­cians who have fum­bled about over an ef­fec­tive pol­icy for years.

Any mar­ket needs an as­sur­ance of gov­ern­ment pol­icy di­rec­tion be­fore it is pre­pared to shell out on in­vest­ment.

The cur­rent gov­ern­ment ap­pears in­ca­pable of ac­knowl­edg­ing its own short­com­ings on en­ergy and cli­mate change pol­icy and in­stead seems de­ter­mined to me­ter out ac­cu­sa­tions on oth­ers, in­clud­ing any child who dares to want to en­gage in the de­bate.

Christ did not re­buke the chil­dren for ap­proach­ing Him.

Yet what have we seen of some politi­cians and com­men­ta­tors?

The fu­ture is not theirs. It’s not ours. We are only bor­row­ing it from the young.

We have no right or di­vine sanc­tion to ruin it, nor dampen their en­thu­si­asm to en­gage in mat­ters that di­rectly af­fect them.

I would im­plore these politi­cians and com­men­ta­tors who con­tinue to de­mean these chil­dren to take on one sim­ple fact: There is an elec­tion com­ing up in a few short months.

Some of these kids will be vot­ing for the first time.

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