“The scariest thing in a school should be my grades.” This is one of the many signs that was held on March 24 at the March for our Lives protest. Created and organized by high school students, this event that called for gun regulation was one of the largest political demonstrations from young Americans in years. While sarcasm and senseless memes are linked to younger generations, they are now being used more seriously as younger people are finding their voices and using them in politics.
Young people are notoriously known for not voting, however, that is quickly changing. According to Census.gov, political involvement in voters 18-29 years old has increased when comparing voter turnout in 2012 to 2016. More recently, the Parkland massacre directly affected student’s feelings about safety and political involvement from younger generations has skyrocketed.
Memes are often seen as silly pictures with the sole purpose of entertainment; they are naturally childish. But with many young adults becoming more political, memes are going from mindless humor to standing for more serious messages. Many of these political memes take hot topics that seem complex and make them simpler to understand and more relatable to young people.
These politically-charged and sarcastic phrases and memes flooding social media vary from equal-rights issues to stricter gun laws. By simplifying these current topics to short phrases or memes, it takes larger issues and quickly puts them into perspective. This makes politics easier to follow and leads to more people finding their voice and getting involved.
At the most recent march, many signs did more than just call attention to political controversies. Young marchers carried signs that made direct jabs at President Trump’s comments as well as general unhappiness with congress, saying, “Grab ‘em right by the Midterms!”
Many similar signs were carried to remind everyone, especially young voters who do not have large voting turnouts, that voters are in charge of electing the people in government who create laws and if Congress is not representing what Americans want, then the members should be replaced.
The last time this many students took politics into their hands was during the Vietnam War protests. According to CBS, more than 200,000 people showed up to march in Washington D.C. and there were over 800 similar marches around the country. It took gun violence in a foreign country to make young people march in D.C. over 40 years ago, and now young people are rallying again against gun violence at home.
These meme-filled protests are not going unrewarded, either. CNBC reported that Remington, one of the oldest gun manufacturers in this country, has filed for bankruptcy protection after sales took a sharp decline. It is easy to say that these students protesting are just kids, but young adults are being heard and their voices are making a difference.
The usage of memes and sarcasm has resulted in more clear solutions. Students have simplified these issues into something that is easier to grasp through their usage of memes and sarcasm. When holding signs that ask if guns or children are more important, it is a simple answer: children. No child should have to fear for their life, especially sitting in class.