The young people of this country is the future. And it is a mistake to think that "kids" will be kids in the sense that they can easily change their worldviews after a certain age. One of the biggest issues in all societies - including the American one - is tollerance vs. hatred. In order to build a society that is worth the name of civilization, young people - from a very young age (3 or 4) must be taught the virtues of acceptance.
I say acceptance and not just tallerance, because one should learn to accept and celebrate cultural, racial, sexual and all kinds of human diversities. And when I say young children must be taught, I don't mean give them a book about diversity and acceptance. I mean that parents at home and teachers in school must lead by example. They ought not be talking about or promoting intallerance, discrimination, or hatred.
Yes, I am talking about the civil rights struggle of our time: lesbian, gay, transgender, and bysexual people's rights, place in society as people, and acceptance. Today, in large parts of the United States, children are taught, by way of example, that it's ok to hate certain groups of people, namely gays. That somehow it is Godly or good to demean another human being. Parents and teahcers who set these examples either by directly acting out of hate themselves or by condoning such behavior are not just bad guardians of our future, but bad citizens.
Teaching acceptance and celebration of diversity ought to be a proud thing. It is a human value to accept and respect everyone in society. At least everyone who is non-violent. Gay bashing, or physically demeaning gay people makes the person doing it an inhumane monster, as they do not understand the basic tenets of humanity. It is a crime against humanity in the worst order. To teach one's children is an even more henious act. Those to teach, preach and spread hatred are traitors to their own faith, and are a menice to society.
Young adults are starting to understand the complexities of the world as well as themselves. If they are not given the opportunity and education to become inclusive, broad and fair minded individuals, it's a failing of society of epic proportions
Children and young adults are capable of being kind or cruel, and they are capable of observing far more than meets the adult eye and of absorbing far more than adults realize. The model presented to them must be one of kindness not cruelty, acceptance not discrimination, love not hate, and equality not division. If we are to live up to the name of a great society, all of its members must be treated equally, with fairness and freedom. And that's what parents and schools need to teach our children. And too often, they fail at this important aspect of preparing our future leaders and citizens.