Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The 12 Year Old That Silenced the World...And Didn't Impress Me

This appeared in my Facebook feed recently. I was tempted to leave a comment on the actual post, but I figured it would come across as too confrontational. By the same token, I didn't feel comfortable making my own Facebook post on this, because it would be too long. But that's what I got this blog for!

As some of my Facebook friends are already aware, I have a tendency to pick apart advocacy posts. I don't like seeing misleading info being spread about, and while I certainly don't have all the answers, I've become a lot more cynical about what I think of as "bumper sticker ideology." IMHO, platitudes are only a starting point, at best.

So here we have this kid speaking at the United Nations, and I must say, she was pretty well spoken, and I agree, overall, with her topic, but it still came across to me as mere propaganda. And really, "silenced the world"? The chamber was certainly silent, but I would expect no less for any speaker. And what did she really say that we haven't heard before?

Here's the highlights that particularly bugged me:
"...come thousands of miles to tell you adults you must change your ways."
I didn't even know (although I could guess) what the topic was, yet right away I was turned off. That statement would come across as pompous even from an adult, let alone a kid who's not even old enough to drive.

"Coming up today, I have no hidden agenda." 
If you did have a hidden agenda, like that of the grown-ups who may have funded you, or who may have helped write your speech, would you tell us? To be fair, I'm sure you yourself believe in what you're saying, but how much of that is from your own deep research, your own debates (with yourself as well as those on the other side of your chosen issue), and how much of it is from your parents, your teachers, or Ranger Rick magazine?

"I am afraid to go out in the sun now."
Now we're getting into hyperbole. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

"I'm only a child, and I don't have all the solutions"
Do you have any? In your entire speech, you didn't make the case for any initiatives or groundbreaking ideas to clean up the planet or feed starving children. It was just one long lecture about how we're not doing enough.

"We are afraid to let go of some of our Canada, we live the privileged life...
I Googled "most charitable countries" and I found this article from the BBC, which lists Canada in the top 10 most generous countries. Sure, they're still behind the United States (fist pump) but c'mon, give your country some credit! And btw, how much did that trip to speak at the U.N. cost? And did you donate or volunteer with any relief organizations helping those begging children you saw?

"At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how to behave in the world."
Now you're sort of ripping off Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

Again, to be fair, it was a decent speech, and I can at least admire her courage in speaking to a large body of distinguished persons, but that doesn't change the fact that she is still a child, whose worldview is largely shaped by the adults she depends on. If she was speaking for issues like, say, traditional marriage, the sanctity of unborn life, or coal miners losing their livelihoods, she would be dismissed, if not outright heckled, by progressives as a mere propaganda tool.  So basically I don't like it when kids jump in the political arena. They don't have much to say that can't be said by an adult, and it's hard to critique what they say without looking like an ogre. But I think if you are willing to roll with with the grown-ups, you should at least be willing to take the critique that grown-ups do.

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