Anytime one of these children tries to make a stand, nobody listens. They are belittled, told that they don’t know anything and are not taken seriously. Even in a time when young people are more involved in politics than ever, they are not heard, at least not enough.
The burden of change falls especially hard on women because of how much more their existence is taxed by society. We call on them to make the change the generations before were not capable of. We tell them that this change comes from their sacrifice, their suffering, their voices and their power. We tell them to fight as their mothers, grandmothers and all the women who came before did.
They are told that they can create lasting change like that of their predecessors, but what these girls receive in exchange for listening, yearning for more and giving these people exactly what they asked for is nothing but disrespect, ignorance and disappointment. They fight as we tell them to and nobody listens; nobody takes them seriously, and nobody grants them respect, even when they prove beyond a doubt that they deserve it.
They are pushed in among the struggle, and they fight and fight, and sometimes they win, but more often than not they lose — we all do. We lose what we thought was safe and sacred. Every generation fights for new issues that come to light, yet we are also forced to fight again and again and again for the rights we thought were protected, the rights that were taken away so easily with nothing we could do about it.
We tell our kids to fight for their children or grandchildren or great-great-great-grandchildren that they will never meet, but in doing so we allow them to believe that what they fight for stands in stone when in reality it is no more stable than sand between your fingers.
Today we fight for tomorrow’s rights and tomorrow we fight for the rights of years ago. We fight and we fight and we fight and all we receive in return is more things to fight for. At the end of the day, none of what we fight for is safe.
So why do we fight?
It is not so simple as what we think we fight for. Yes, we fight for our rights, but those are so uncertain that it can’t be why. Yes, we fight for ourselves, but the future for which we hope is so unachievable in our lifetime that it can’t be why. Yes, it is for our future generations, but many of us do not think it right to bear them into the world. They will be forcefully born into a world with fewer rights than their grandmothers had. They will need to fight twice as hard for those very same rights, so that can’t be why.
So why do we fight? Why do we fight for a thing we know may never exist?
The perfect world that we do not find our society to be capable of. We fight because there is nothing else that we can do. It is not the last resort, but rather the only option we have been given.
We fight because we cannot bear to stay down when we are kicked. We fight for change even when parts of us do not believe it is possible because every other part wants to believe it is. We fight for the little things so the big things don’t seem so scary.
We fight for unity and hope because it helps us not feel so alone. We fight because we know we can’t depend on miracles. We fight on the off chance of success because in spite of the fact that in fighting we accept the risk that we may lose everything, by not fighting we have nothing at all.