Your Opinions Still Matter Even If People Won’t Change Their Minds

In the aftermath of Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation, I saw a lot of hopelessness, both abstract and functional. I’ve struggled in the past weeks to articulate what that means for The Record. If you haven’t noticed, our website looks terrible at the moment. That is partially not my fault, since we had a malware issue recently that required me to update everything and thus lose the web design, and partially entirely my fault, because I don’t know how to fix it and if I’m being honest, I’m not going to learn. I’m staring at my belly button a bit here, but it feels analogous to this moment in history: Everything is terrible, and it’s not really our fault, and we don’t know how to fix it.

It’s not really a secret to anyone in our age group that certain types of older people don’t care what we think. Alan Dershowitz will keep comparing my peers who criticized the administration to McCarthyists, despite the fact that there’s really no comparison between Communism, an ideology like any other that can do harm but doesn’t have to, and sexual assault, an action done to another person that always does harm, even if ideology has nothing to do with it. Our parents will keep sticking to the same talking points about how Dr. Ford didn’t actually remember enough about what happened and Judge Kavanaugh was rightfully angry about being attacked in this way. Whatever helps them sleep at night when they inevitably vote Republican. Adrian Vermeule doesn’t care if you think he’s embarrassing himself; he’ll keep tweeting (the same applies to Elon Musk, to be sure). And of course, they really don’t care enough about us to forgive the student loan burden crushing our generation. That’s what love looks like: making sure people don’t have to spend a decade delaying the rest of their lives just so you can feel like they’ve earned a higher standard of living. Right? Am I wrong?

But that’s the funny thing, isn’t it? They never did, and they never do. I’ve seen issues of The Record from past decades with similar kinds of turmoil expressed in different ways, and the themes are the same: the young people are asking for too much, and they should just listen to the people who already have power and influence.

But the other funny thing is that young people don’t care about that. And you shouldn’t either. There is nothing we can do about people who are set in their ways, no matter how old they are. But we can try to get everyone else to pay attention or even join us.

Several of your classmates have already done this through writing in and protesting aspects of this experience we call life. Many of your classmates work against injustice through clinics and other more experiential courses. You can do those things too. You can also vote. You can encourage other people to vote. Those things aren’t nothing.

I keep harping on how many people tell me I should ask someone else to write about topics they suggest, even though the person suggesting the topic is clearly the most passionate and knowledgeable about it. That may be how cautious future attorneys think, but it is not how trailblazers think. It is not how people who want to make the world a better place think. And it is not how I approach The Record.

The Record needs you to stay engaged even when things seem hopeless. There are a lot of conversations happening about how best to proceed in these times. I can’t tell you which ones are the right ones to be having. It’s your job to tell me, and it’s my job to give you a platform. I’d love for everyone at this school to help me in that mission.

Kate Thoreson

Kate Thoreson is a 3L. She is the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Law Record.
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