This morning, when I asked my Gen Z daughter, 13, what she thought of the election results, she said, “I think we just started the real-world Hunger Games.”
A truly terrifying statement! But she wasn’t pointing the finger at Trump, as I wrongly assumed.
“It would have happened if Hillary won too.”
I certainly wasn’t expecting that. However, knowing what I know about both Gabby and her generation, I should have expected her final declaration.
“But that’s ok, because I’m Katniss!”
YES! With that sentence, not only did she prove I’ve raised a daughter who won’t take crap from anyone (proud mom moment), but she also eloquently summed up how I suspect Gen Z will attack the mess we find ourselves in now.
Admittedly, I voted for Hillary Clinton and I wish the election would have turned out differently. I’m no fan of Donald Trump. His words and rhetoric throughout the election scared and angered me, along with so many other Americans.
But I don’t blame Trump for the actions of Americans – on both sides – in the days since the election. I don’t believe my friends and relatives who voted for Trump are racists, bigots and sexists. And I don’t believe the protesters who are turning to looting and violence are “throwing a tantrum” because their candidate lost. Instead, I believe we’re all just very scared of what’s next for the country we all love. Gabby’s probably right. Do we honestly think we’d be looking at a different outcome if Hillary had won? Doubtful!
This is an emotional time. Sometimes, especially with youth, emotion drives us to do things we’ll later regret. As their parents, teachers and mentors, we need to lead by example and make sure our young people don’t let their emotions turn to dangerous and hateful acts. And some of us aren’t doing a very good job of this right now. I really doubt kids would be chanting “build the wall!” at school if they weren’t learning harmful lessons at home. And Trump supporters shouldn’t be attacked just because their candidate won. The violence needs to stop!
Here’s where I’m hopeful. Once the dust settles a bit, I truly believe Gen Z will step up and teach us all a valuable lesson. Remember, this is a generation that values diversity, inclusion and individuality above all else. They are incredibly smart; some say they’re wise beyond their years. They are globally minded and truly want to change the world for the better. Not just for Americans – but for all men, women and children around the world.
Z’s genuinely value uniqueness and want to live in a world that recognizes all opinions and beliefs, not just the ones they themselves hold true. Very shortly, I believe Gen Z will leverage their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to bring us all together to find solutions to the issues that divide us. They’ll take the lead in uniting the country because they simply won’t stand for living in a society filled with hate and intolerance. As the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in history, those harmful beliefs just aren’t in their DNA.
Gen Z has a lot to teach most of us older, close-minded, cynical adults – if we just take the time to listen. And if he’ll listen, that includes (perhaps most of all) President-Elect Trump.
I said it long before the election and I’ll say it again now. I truly believe Gen Z will save us all!
As Gabby would probably put it, “just like Katniss saved and liberated the people of Panem.”