Since the shocking news of the death of Margaret Thatcher sweeped the nation last week, there has been mixed reactions and opinions of Britains first female prime minister remain divided.
From street parties celebrating the news to many famous figure heads paying tribute, there is no denying the huge impact Thatcher had not only across the nation but worldwide.
One thing that has come to my attention throughout this last week is that there seems to be this common misconception that if something happened before your time then you are not entitled to have an opinion on it.
I know for my first blog post I talked a little about some of the meme’s I had seen floating around facebook, and the hypocrites who post them, but this week I find myself having to look at the newest in the series of nonesense memes, with the arrival of a meme pictured with willy wonka (from charlie and the chocolate factory- an ongoing theme for most memes) with the caption “Margaret Thatcher has died? Tell me more about how you’re 18 and suddenly an expert in 1980’s politics”.
Now there is so much wrong with everything about this, that I do not actually know where to begin. But lets start with what politics actually is. The word politics conjures up many different images for different people. In general, “politics is the art or science of influencing people on a civic, or individual level, when there are more than 2 people involved. Modern political discourse focuses on democracy and the relationship between people and politics. It is thought of as the way we “choose government officials and make decisions about public policy”.
So, in simple terms politics is the power relation between people.
The reason I find the meme so ridiculous is because it implies that unless you were around in the 1980’s whilst Thatcher was in power then you are not entitled to have an opinion on the subject.
Saying that an 18 year old can’t and does not have the right to comment on the subject is like saying that you cannot condem Hitler and the holocaust because you were not alive when it happened and therefore you’re opinion can only be valid if you lived through it. The whole concept is completely idiotic. Being in your fourties, doesn’t make you any more entitled to having a political view than being a twenty something year old student.
On the contrary one could argue that actually those who were NOT born into the era of Thatchers Britain are more openely balanced with their views as they are not influenced by having personally been affected. Young people are slighty more dispationate and are able to take that vital step back and not let their emotions influence their beliefs. Speaking as someone born into the 90’s I find myself with a more objective view and remain open minded and willing to put new ideas into practice and more willing to welcome change. You dont have to have been there to appreciate the political changes that took place. Thatcher is dead but her legacy lives on.
Young people are not immune to the consequences of the decisions made by politicians and it is the youth who will be left to inherit all of the problems we face as a country, such as the ever growing problem of global warming, the recession, and the problem of overcrowding to name a few. As a young person I feel it is essential for young people to understand,to learn and educate ourselves about polictics and history because politics is the venue by which laws are created. Laws which affect all of us wether directly or indirectly. It is this knowledge that allows us to be able to make informed decisions at the polls when we vote. Knowledge is power, and knowing about politics allows us to apply progressive ideas and break the hold of the conservative establishment.The values and the lessons our children learn in school not only impact and reflect on our childrens future but it also reflects on the future and the progress of our country.
Therefore I feel it is important that young people continue to question and remain engaged in the world and its surroundings as the only way we can learn from past mistakes is by fully understanding them.
Afterall, new minds bring new perspectives. And fresh minds refresh hearts!
The youth of today, are the leaders of tomorrow….