Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Given the state of our political climate today, it seems only natural to question our definition of “social progression.” Is it social progression when people continue to go unheard at the hands of corrupt politicians who value money rather than policy? Is it progression when we continue to perpetuate the same cycle of institutional racism, xenophobia, and sexism that plagued our nation generations ago? And is it truly progression when children act like leaders while our so-called “leaders” act like children?
The answer is a clear and resounding NO.
The true definition of social progress is the coming together for the general good - to make sure that everyone, regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status, has an equitable chance to reach their full potential, not only as individuals but as a community as well. However, social progression isn’t attainable by the action of a few and the inaction of many. The only way to achieve true societal progress is to have steady, authoritative hands guiding the way for the rest of us, paving the way to a better tomorrow.
And who better to guide us than the officials who were elected to fulfill that very purpose? After all, aren’t these the same people who swore an oath to put their people’s concerns over their own?
In reality, however, it seems that many of our elected officials (though not all) seem to have
forgotten the oath they originally took to represent us. They aren’t the steady hands leading
the charge for social progression; instead, they merely serve as the trembling hands of social
And the reason for this is quite clear. Instead of working towards the greater good, a new
attitude has overtaken American politics: suddenly, complacency is a viable alternative for
action, avarice is a substitute for altruism, and fear trumps political courage.
Don’t believe me?
When it came to the inhumane detention centers in our southern border, our leaders chose to remain complacent, effectively turning a blind eye on the issue. Meanwhile, plenty of families were separated in an unknown land they once hoped to call home. It wasn’t until we, the people, brought these injustices into the limelight and forced our politicians to act. Yet, to this day, injustices on the border continue to run rampant.
When it came to protecting our students from weapons of mass destruction, our politicians
remained silent, instead offering prayers and condolence when we, the people, called for
substantive gun control policies. Yet, to this day, gun regulations remain pathetic across the
When it came to putting an end to racial disparities and discrimination once and for all, our
political leaders chose indifference, hoping that these murders would just get thrown under the rug. It wasn’t until we, the people, lifted this rug and exposed the injustices of police brutality for the world to see. Yet, people continue to live in fear of being pulled over.
And when it came to the climate crisis, our political leaders completely overlooked the issue as if ignorance could resolve it. It wasn’t until we, the people, forced them to bring the climate debate to the table. Yet, after years of discussion, we still haven’t passed a concrete, tangible solution to mitigate the issue.
In all these cases and more, the situation is the same: when we called for systemic change in
our policies, what we get in return is complacency.
But these sentiments have reigned supreme for too long. And they have to stop.
In the words of Haile Selassie, the former Ethiopian emperor who was influential in the creation of the predecessor to the African Union, “Throughout history, it’s been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
I refuse to stand on the sidelines while the vast majority of our politicians continue to do nothing. And I know plenty of people agree with me because they aren’t sitting on the sidelines anymore. They are on the streets protesting for the action they rightfully deserve but never received. They are showing the world what true democracy is. More importantly, they are taking initiative and serving as the steady hands for social progression.
Nonetheless, to any elected official reading this, please don’t overlook my statements simply
because I am a kid. Ironically, even we as kids are rallying together to save our generation and the generations to come after us. We are tired of hearing that we are too young to understand the real issues and that the controversial issues are too “complex” for us to handle.
Because our minds have never been clearer.
We know what we want. And most importantly, we know how to achieve it. Don’t forget that
the power of the people much outweighs the people in power.
Now, to those politicians that have lived by the oath you swore to abide by, I applaud you for all your efforts and I hope you can continue to lead us to a new era of action, change, and societal progression. Because THAT is what true social progress is like. You are the beacons of hope that ensure our democracy doesn’t fall into darkness.
And to those of you who refuse to use your power for the betterment of society, remember
that we, the people, when angered, are a force to be reckoned with. And there is nothing that can stop us in this pursuit for justice.
But, there is still hope yet. Choose action instead of complacency. Don’t rely on tragedies to serve as a catalyst for more policies. The reason for passing policies is to prevent tragedies from happening in the first place. But, delaying political discourse and the passing of important pieces of legislation are not the ways to fix our current problems. What we need is transparency. What we need is accountability. And what we need is action.
With all of our politicians fighting alongside us in the political arena, there is no doubt in my
mind that we can fix any issue we want, whether it is climate change or statutory racism. I hope you all will join me and the rest of America in this never-ending battle to correct our past mistakes. But, I have a feeling that, together, we can progress as a society and emerge
Aryan Ranjan is a high school senior at American Heritage School in Plantation, FL.