The youth have always been radical

The Pampanga leg of the Leni-Kiko series of political rallies became the most successful (so far) out of all the cities that participated.

All in all, 220,000 supporters of the Robredo and Pangilinan presidential and vice-presidential tandem converged in the parking lot of Robinsons Starmills in San Fernando, Pampanga. It was a surprising victory, so to speak, for Robredo, who lost to her rival Ferdinand Marcos Jr. by a wide margin in the vice presidential race six years back.

Our organization, Vox Populi PH, was three of those 220,000 strong who decided to show our support. Marius, Kristelle, and I came prepared, choosing to use the event as a platform to release our collaborative zine to the rally-goers. We booked a hotel in Sindalan (around 8 kilometers or 20 minutes away from the venue), half-expecting it to be packed with supporters.

(PHOTO: MARIA KRISTELLE JIMENEZ)

The crowd didn’t disappoint: when Marius and I arrived at 3:30 pm (Kristelle went ahead of us and managed to find herself stageside), the venue was almost completely packed. Luckily, the program had not commenced yet, and we could find a nice corner between two parked ambulances to settle into. We fixed our tarp (that said, we have free zines and stickers to give away) and laid down the zines as if we were selling them. Immediately, we got interested: I think Kristelle did a good job picking the neon peach color as it is very eye-catching. She said it was the closest available color to pink, and it was probably a happy accident.

Funnily enough, we got many questions about what a “zine” actually is; people wanted the stickers more and were very interested in getting at least one of the 1,000+ ones that Kristelle made. However, when we told them about what we do (that we are independent writers), they became interested and wanted to know more about our works. It was a gratifying experience.

(PHOTO: JAY-AR PALOMA)

Considering the 220,000 people that joined the rally, it is not far-fetched to imagine that there are many factions from all walks of life that joined. Finding a kindred spirit shouldn’t be so hard! True enough, not even thirty minutes in, I ran into a group of online writers turned friends; they also advocate for the same thing: freedom and good governance, and were more than happy to receive our creative output. While I felt old standing next to this next generation of writers, it was also proof that our cause in Vox was not in vain.

We were surprised at how many young people showed up during the rally. A healthy percentage of those who inquired and asked for our zines must have been in the Gen Z category. They were bright and curious but aware of their place and obligation to society, including this upcoming elections. When VP Leni Robredo asked who were first-time voters among the crowd, a massive roar of affirmation almost shattered my eardrums.

It is not a surprise, though. After all, the youth have always been radical.

Most people don’t realize it, but all revolutions start with tiny rebellions. I imagine that all of the twenty-somethings in the crowd have done something that has been tagged as “misbehavior.” I would know, for I was once a youth too. But then, I never did something just because I liked it. Instead, I went against the rules because they didn’t make sense. For example, why would I take a nap in the afternoon if I’m not tired? I can always play outside instead.

(PHOTO: JAY-AR PALOMA)

Today’s youth are especially empowered to speak their mind, as social media interconnectedness has only amplified their voices to more significant volumes. Organizations like Vox Populi PH, for instance, serves as a platform for the youth to express their mind without fear of prejudice. Twitter and TikTok, while also being a platform of toxicity and disinformation, have also served their purpose to the youth as an outlet for creativity and expression. The youth are now less reliant on being told what to do but instead use the power of the internet to find out and establish their truths. They are, therefore, more intellectually independent than the generations before.

The truth is, every previous generation would have negative things to say about the generation that succeeds them. As a millennial, I would stick up my nose that some Gen Zs use the intellectual independence above too liberally, in that they can be very easily victimized by disinformation. After all, for the thousands of enlightened youth that attended the rally last April 9th, there are multitudes of TikTok videos of Gen Zs proselytizing for Marcos and Duterte or who don’t know who GomBurZa are. I, however, prefer to see the glass half full.

(PHOTO: JAY-AR PALOMA)

On that fateful night, the thing I choose to remember was how a sea of young’uns screamed the names of their preferred leaders and demanded loudly good governance. This generation knows how their votes can impact their immediate future, and I, as their senior, approve of it. Nevertheless, there is still hope, and as long as we can help and shape them in any way or form, we will be there. After all, the youth may have all the energy in the world, but they need experienced people like us to share our wisdom. Eventually, they will become the battle-hardened citizens they are destined to be and will have to evolve to face the next generation, even more, radical than before.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s