When the Children Cry – Rise Up!

There is a soundtrack to my life. There are an endless amount of lyrics and tunes stored in my brain and the second something happens that triggers a feeling, a song begins to play.

Today, I heard the White Lion ballad stirring around as I listened to an audio clip of children crying out for their parents in a US Customs and Border detention facility.

“Little child, dry your crying eyes…how can I explain the fear you feel inside…”

The idealism of my teenage years when ’80s ballads did me in came flooding back at me, wrapped in the cynicism of reality. I used to think people wrote and sang songs like this because you could rally up the people and they could make a change.

“No more presidents, and all the wars will end…one united world, under god…”

It’s laughable how I had hoped for a better world for my children. I’m wondering now how to incorporate a possible war into my summer plans so that my kids don’t get excited about something that can be derailed by rockets. I used to think cheesy lyrics meant something.

“When the children cry, let them know we tried…”

No, you didn’t. I was a crying child then. While the adults around me were composing songs about saving the world and feeding all the hungry children, I was curling up in my room learning not to trust anyone.

“Little child, you must show the way, to a better day for all the young…” 

Uh-uh. Not this time. I’m so tired of children taking up the role of our future. I don’t believe that…not anymore.

I’m all grown up now. I heard you sing and chant and claim to fight for me. I saw you fail time and time again.

Children are still crying and my head is filled with the bullshit of a generation who thinks my generation is too fast-paced, too demanding, too selfish and too damn technologically advanced to know how to stoop down to eye level with children and tell them that we fucked up.

You raised us with the wrong songs. You made us think we had to fix your mistakes. You told us you were sorry for leaving us something so damaged and you slithered off into retirement while refusing to let your fist loosen on the ideals you carefully cultivated for yourselves.

We’ve taken the seeds of your ideas and we’ve grown them into worlds you never could have imagined. We’ve become innovators and problem solvers and creative geniuses and you still scoff at us.

I need a new soundtrack.

I can hear the drums, I can feel the beat picking up. I think we might have something special churning around out there, something that can produce a sound I can be proud of.

Listen up, kids. I know you’re hurting and scared and worried about your future.

We got this. This is not our fight but we’re going to make it ours. You are the children of today. You should be learning and laughing and living your best lives. You shouldn’t be in detention facilities. You shouldn’t be separated from your families. You shouldn’t be worried about war or how long it will take for the environment to give up. You should be singing the songs we write for you.

Listen to them; they are glorious.

I’m not going to leave you with something I can’t be proud of. Hold on just a little longer while we kick some butt.

We will rise up.

Originally published on the Times of Israel.

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