When people feel the need to write things like Jones Gallagher’s recent critique of the student walkout (Letters to the editor, March 20), it’s not difficult to read between the lines.

First, you have to dig past the superficial – by that, I mean the cynicism and conspiratorial nonsense simmering on the surface – and really look at what’s driving the angst.

A better example would be former Maine Republican House candidate Leslie Gibson, who inexplicably decided that calling a female high school student a “skinhead lesbian” on social media was a reasonable thing for an adult to do. For him to do something like that shows me someone who is not speaking from a position of strength. What that shows me is a person in the grips of one thing: fear.

An overwhelming fear that a new generation is beginning to find its voice. The unavoidable fact that these intelligent, articulate and driven young people are making their inexorable way to the control room. They will not be stopped. They will not be ignored. You can’t wait them out. As one Parkland high school student put it bluntly: “We’re going to outlive you.”

I am a member of so-called “Generation X,” a generation ravaged by addiction (the average age of those who died from a drug overdose in Maine last year was 41). Life expectancy in general is declining as self-harm (addiction, obesity, suicide) drag down both baby boomers and Gen X.

To see those born after 1995, the so-called “post-millennials,” simply leapfrog my generation wouldn’t be a surprise to me at all. Nor would I see it as a total negative.

To paraphrase the venerable soap opera opening: “Like sands through the hourglass … .” Accept that or lash out in fear – either way, no diatribe, no insult, no slur, no cliché, no matter how crude or cruel, will do anything to stop it.

Jeremy Smith

Old Orchard Beach

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