I’d like to preface my article with one of my all-time favorite quotes: “Not being heard is no reason for silence.” Victor Hugo said that in his most famous work Les Misérables. Obviously the students of BHS aren’t exactly on the brink of rebellion, but the quote applies nonetheless: no matter your age, your voice matters. It doesn’t matter that you’re only a teenager, or that you have no real power over anything. I get it— we’re kids, our parents still pay our cell phone bill, we’re not the most experienced and sometimes we get things wrong. I know that I can get misinformed, and I definitely get too passionate about things that I may not always be 100% educated on. But you know what? That’s okay. Seriously! Is that permission to go shooting your mouth off about any topic no matter your experience with it? Definitely not, but if you want to take the necessary steps to gain perspective on issues that matter to you, well, that’s one of the best things you can do at this age. We’re not going to be teenagers forever, and when it’s our turn to take over, we need to be ready to bring about the changes that we’ve been debating and refining since high school. Debate can seem confrontational and even pointless—truthfully, at times it can be. However, debating makes you a stronger person; it helps solidify your arguments; it tells people that you stand up for what you believe in and most of all it shows that you want change. There’s a difference between debating and arguing, and sometimes that line is easy to cross, but don’t let that stop you. Instead, learn to control your passion and recognize the difference between appropriate moments and the times where it goes too far. Find people with common ideals and collaborate. Join debate teams or the school’s GSA, or maybe start a club of your own! No matter what you do, never think that you would be better off remaining silent. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, and everyone has the right to contest those opinions in a controlled manner. Don’t be afraid of creating conflict— instead, stand up for your beliefs in a way that will make people want to listen to what you have to say. No matter how far away adulthood seems, one day this country is going to be ours. Our passion and our desire for change is what is going to motivate us all throughout our lives. I don’t care how naive, foolish, or even childish I sound: I’m ready to change the world, and I know we’re all going to do it together.
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