Editorial: Our generation must choose the future we want to build

Now is the time young people must decide if they are going to tolerate a broken world, or if they will stand up and create a better one.


DI Editorial Board

The U.S. was founded on the ideal that it would be a nation in which “all men are created equal.”

Centuries later, Americans have been handed a question past generations have failed to answer: Will the U.S. live up to this bold statement of equality? Will now be the time at which we live up to the ideals our Founding Fathers envisioned?

It’s on us young people to decide which future we will create.

Young people must stand up for an America in which all people within its borders truly have the opportunity to secure the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

President Trump wants people of color he doesn’t like to “go back” to “the places from which they came.” His supporters chant “send her back” when he mentions the names of U.S. congresswomen — all American citizens themselves. When confronted with this, he accused his political opponents of being racist and refused to disavow his hateful comments.

And these aren’t isolated incidents. He said some white-nationalist protesters are “very fine people.” Before that, he announced his presidential campaign by calling undocumented immigrants drug dealers and rapists. And before that, he entered mainstream politics by falsely claiming President Obama was not born in the U.S. This is who he is.

The Daily Iowan Editorial Board believes the president’s racist sentiments are antithetical to American values. However, this isn’t just about condemning the president. Our nation’s wounds won’t instantly heal in January 2021 or 2025, when he’s out of office. The damage done by this era will last a lifetime.

Young people must stand up for an America in which all people in its borders truly have the opportunity to secure the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We are coming to age in time to choose whether we want to live in an open world or a closed one. The decisions we make now — in our neighborhoods, in our schools, in our churches, with our friends, with our families, with our politics — will dictate the rest of the century.

What are we going to do? Are we going to sit back and watch the hateful minority retain its seats of power? No. Are we going to allow our future be dictated by those with no investment in the rest of this century? No.

We’re going to stand up and create a world we believe in. We’re going to create it everywhere from our classrooms and churches to our dormitories and downtowns. We’re going to create it with our friends and families, with people we don’t like and don’t know.

Standing against racism isn’t a partisan issue. No matter your political-party affiliation, this means voting down hateful politics at the ballot box. This means rejecting rhetoric that perpetuates oppression of marginalized communities on campus, online, and everywhere else. This means actively promoting equity and inclusion and embracing — not merely tolerating — diversity.

The political and cultural situation we find ourselves in is not one that will be remedied in a matter of months or even years. Our generation will confront this fight for the rest of our lives. We must be resolute in rejecting racism — especially that which stems from the White House. It is not welcome here — not in Iowa, and most certainly not in our America.