Compared to the high school students at March for Our Lives, I'm an old man. But I too understand what it means to lose a friend—and to fight for changeby Billy Kovacs / March 24, 2018 / Leave a comment
This Saturday, thousands of people across America will rally for a March for Our Lives to protest for gun control, saying #neveragain after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It is the second big push of teenage activism after almost a million students abandoned their classrooms last week as part of the National School Walkout.
The movement has received widespread support, but it’s far from unanimous: there are millions out there who see it as youthful naivety, a group of children ignorant of the ways of the world. This reaction isn’t uncommon to the idea of young people as leaders—especially in politics. Our current president is 70 years old and the average age of American presidents is 44, so perhaps it is no surprise.
Yet Alexander Hamilton, founding father and the man who inspired a musical you might have heard of, was 21-years-old when he signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and James Munroe was only 18. So, when people tell me that I’m too young to be running for Congress this year at the age of 30 I have to smile.
“You should just wait your turn,” they tell me. “Get some experience on the city council or be a state representative, you’d be great there!” I get it all the time.
At 30, I’m the closest you can get to a young person because of our age limits—persons under 25 are barred from serving in the US House of Representatives, and those under 30 are excluded from the Senate. As a millennial, though, I have learned that if you want to change the world you have to step forward yourself and initiate that change.
My life in 2007 was typical of a millennial. I had little sense of which direction my life was going to take me, but that all changed with a Facebook notification that read “SPC. Louis G. Kim has been killed by small arms fire in Iraq just days before his 20th birthday.”
As a young man I silently struggled with the loss. I remember seeing the photo of all of our friends on the beach next to a bonfire smiling and saying goodbye on the last night he…