Ain’t no wall high enough, no armor thick enough

Those fond of domestic tranquility are in for a bumpy ride and a bitterly disappointing next few years. America is on a collision course with social, economic and political upheaval.

So far, the response of our nation’s lawmakers and defenders of the established social order has been to make the country into more and more of a police 'protect and serve'state. Police forces are growing and their tactics are steadily hardening. It may still say “protect and serve” on some squad cars, but the actions say “intimidate and control.”

This response might work – more or less – for another week or another month or another year. But its effectiveness will wane. Its days are numbered. When the social contract is broken, windows tend to break too. Peace and order cannot be maintained where there is little or no justice.

Older folks keep complaining about young people not voting and asking why they aren’t more involved politically. Here’s a suggestion to all the politicians out there. Stop telling our nation’s youth what they need to do for you. Focus instead on what you and your policies are doing to them. You want their support? Try legislating social and economic justice and environmental sanity.

Millennials have plenty of reasons to be pissed. They rightly feel the political system is broken and unresponsive. They rightly feel they are being turned into indentured servants, doomed to be stuck working off the mountain of debt they are buried under for 20 or 30 years or more. They rightly figure they will be paying into Social Security for most of their lives, but don’t expect to ever see a dime’s worth of benefits. They rightly think their elders who have polluted with impunity and without conscience will never have to experience the full force of the planet’s wrath the way theirs and future generations surely will.

What we are handing down to our children and grandchildren is damaged goods. When they act out in protest of the broken social contract, as they will, all our “leaders” can think to do is build sturdier fences, install more security cameras, and equip the police with more powerful weaponry and more impenetrable armor.

In the end, this will fail to either prevent or quell turmoil.

If you want peace, work for justice. Work for a democracy where all voices are truly heard and where votes really count and where everyone has a say whether or not they have lobbyists working for them or can bribe politicians with big fat “campaign donations.” Work for an economy that benefits everyone and not just a privileged few. Work for college affordability. Work for Mother Nature’s well being.

At the moment, neither major political party is making these things happen. Millennials are smart. They’ve noticed. So have a whole lot of people across the generational spectrum. It’s going to get interesting.

Mike McCabe