The Kids Are All Right!

I have several friends who have stopped watching/reading the news. They find the daily assault just too depressing.

But along with the deluge of dispiriting news they’re avoiding are some very encouraging stories. I recently came across one.

THE NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN to stifle discussions of race and gender in public schools through misinformation and bullying suffered a reversal in Idaho on Monday, when a high school senior vocally opposed to book bans and smears against LGBTQ+ youth took a seat on the Boise school board.

The student, Shiva Rajbhandari, was elected to the position by voters in Idaho’s capital last week, defeating an incumbent board member who had refused to reject an endorsement from a local extremist group that has harassed students and pushed to censor local libraries.

Rajbhandari turned 18 only a few days before the election, but evidently he was already well-known in the school district as a student organizer on climate, environmental, voting rights, and gun control issues.

Pretty impressive for a 17-year-old.

If your reaction to a high school senior on a school board is less than enthusiastic, that’s  understandable. But the difference between Rajbhandari and his opponent was stark.

In the closing days of the campaign, his opponent, Steve Schmidt, was endorsed by the far-right Idaho Liberty Dogs, which in response helped Rajbhandari win the endorsement of Boise’s leading newspaper, the Idaho Statesman.

Rajbhandari, a third-generation Idahoan whose father is from Nepal, was elected to a two-year term with 56 percent of the vote.

Rajbhandari insisted that he’d wanted people to vote for him rather than against his opponent, but acknowledged that he had been shocked that Schmidt wouldn’t reject the far-right group’s endorsement.

The Idaho Liberty Dogs, which attacked Rajbhandari on Facebook for being “Pro Masks/Vaccines” and leading protests “which created traffic jams and costed [sic] tax payers money,” spent the summer agitating to have books removed from public libraries in Nampa and Meridian, two cities in the Boise metro area

Rajbhandari had started leading Extinction Rebellion climate protests in Boise when he was only 15 years old, and it was through that activism that he became familiar with Liberty Dogs and its tactics.

“We used to have climate strikes, like back in ninth grade, and they would come with AR-15s,” he said, bringing rifles to intimidate “a bunch of kids protesting for a livable future.”

When he was 16, Rajbhandari had publicly confronted Idaho’s then- far-right lieutenant governor, who had set up a task force to “Examine Indoctrination in Idaho Education.” He accused her of investigating an entirely imaginary threat and endorsing baseless conspiracy theories to generate support for her candidacy.

When Idaho’s Liberty Dogs endorsed Schmidt along with a slate of other candidates for the school board (all of whom, fortunately, ended up losing), Rajbhandari texted his rival to say, “You need to immediately disavow this.”

“This is a hate group,” Rajbhandari says he told Schmidt. “They intimidate teachers, they are a stain on our schools, and their involvement in this election is a stain on your candidacy.” Schmidt, however, refused to clearly reject the group, even after the Idaho Liberty Dogs lashed out at a local rabbi who criticized the endorsement by comparing the rabbi to Hitler and claiming that he harbored “an unrelenting hatred for white Christians.”

We old folks repeatedly hear –and repeatedly repeat!–accusations about the apathy of the younger generation. The following paragraphs of the linked article give the lie to that lazy characterization.

The initial impetus for Rajbhandari’s run for office was a feeling of frustration that the Boise school board was simply ignoring pleas from student climate activists to make a clean energy commitment. Two years ago, he said, a group of high school and junior high students tried everything they could think of to urge the board to make a commitment to renewable energy. “We sent emails; we did a postcard drive and wrote like 300 postcards; we met with our local power company; we had a petition, we delivered the largest petition ever to our school district,” Rajbhandari said, but the board never responded. “Last year, I wrote a letter to our school board president, just asking for a meeting … and I never got anything back. But I know that he read my letter because about a week later, I was called to the principal’s office.”

“That’s when I knew I was going to run” for a seat on the board, Rajbhandari recalled. “Because that is indicative of a problem. Students are the primary stakeholders in our education, right? And yet our board wasn’t seeing us as constituents, and they weren’t willing to meet with us, and they weren’t taking our ideas seriously,” he said.

The kids are okay. We “elders” just need to get out of their way…


  1. Half of the MAGA movement are Boomers according to a poll by U of Washington. Didn’t say but I suspect the next 30+% are GenX. If we and democracy survive this neither group will know what hit them when GenY&Z come into full power in the next ten yrs. But it may be too late to avoid phenomenal loss of life and GDP due to effects of climate change and not adequately preparing for it. Just look at Puerto Rico. It’s just another “tax” the Boomers are leaving their descendent along with a massive national debt. Lower the estate tax ceiling NOW!

  2. Yes, Shelia, most kids are okay and will lead us out of this mess. However, they will need our help as well.

    In Idaho, there are very dangerous factions growing like the Liberty Dogs. All factions of the Patriot groups – fascists and Neo-Nazis. For some reason, the USA is trying to normalize these groups and these people.

    Despite what our national news has to say, much of what we are sending to Ukraine is being sold in the black markets by Zelenskyy. To whom? We all know American mercenaries were sent to Ukraine and Afghanistan. Are they behind these Patriot groups? The Police?

    I applaud 17-year-olds getting involved, but they best understand the dangers manifesting in these Patriot groups because our media and government are doing very little for some reason.

  3. I agree. The youth are better educated and are sponges to our world problems like never before. They see the writing on the wall and are showing up today. I applaud their efforts and will shout down any “fellow boomers” to sit down and listen to them.

  4. “Despite what our national news has to say, much of what we are sending to Ukraine is being sold in the black markets by Zelenskyy.”

    Really Todd. Just what sort of conspiracy koolaid have you been drinking? This is no better than MAGA, or like mined propaganda. Sheila should take action and bar you from posting here.

  5. “Despite what our national news has to say, much of what we are sending to Ukraine is being sold in the black markets by Zelenskyy. To whom? We all know American mercenaries were sent to Ukraine and Afghanistan. Are they behind these Patriot groups? The Police?”

    This quote from Todd’s statement is stated without documentation. What, Todd, is your proof of these 2 assertions? “We all know” is not proof. Please provide facts.

  6. What is known about Shiva Rajbhandari’s parents and the upbringing which produced this incredible young man? Hopefully we can look forward to watching him take his place in the future to become a leader in government; if the violent faction doesn’t stop him before he can begin. He is obviously in an education system which didn’t stifle his voice and stop his actions to better the school system for others in a political system which did not, or could not, stop a high school student from running for public office. Like the public voices coming out against the United States Supreme Court on their decisions upholding anti-abortion and voter suppression, the public in Idaho’s capital listened to his voice and that of the incumbent board member to make their voting decision. He is an amazing young man; but what is going on in his local education system and the political situation that Indiana could learn from to bring progress to this red state?

    I applied on line for my Mail-In Ballot application on September 15th, received the application yesterday. It is waiting in my mailbox for USPS pickup today. I’m ready!

  7. Many of the kids are alright, but many of them are not. I hope there are enough of the alright ones to overcome the eventual meandering to destruction that my generation (boomer) seems to have embraced. We started out protesting the war in Vietnam and racial injustice, but we lost our way in the 80s, when greed became our god. Maybe we should ban Michael Douglas movies to make sure that doesn’t happen (satire alert).

  8. Thanks for sharing this story.

    There are students all over our country that happen to be much more intelligent than the school board members that control their education. In addition, there are students who happen to be much more intelligent than their teachers.

    Ever since tRump soiled our democracy with his autocratic idiocy, he gave permission to his fellow extremely stupid and radical cockroach followers to crawl out of the woodwork and spread their disease of ignorance and chaos.

    I truly hope young citizens like Shiva Rajbhandari will be able to take control of both the federal and state governments before our country and planet are destroyed by the selfish and self-centered older citizens that are currently in power.

  9. Many – too many – people run for school boards to pad their political resume’. They have no real intention of doing anything for the schools, the children in them or the curriculum that may be harmful to those careers-in-waiting. I saw this first-hand in Colorado Springs and in Texas.

    The “Liberty” Dogs are another collection of intellectual dwarfs trying to display their frustrations with being ignorant. I’m watching Ken Burns’ new series: “The U.S. and the Holocaust”. The hate in the world toward Jews and others in the 1920s and 30s is eerily similar to what these dogs are displaying. It’s very sad to see that humans just can’t get over their tribalism and will turn themselves into pretzels to instigate their bigotry, bigotry based on nothing but the tribe-ism.

    I think Rebecca Costa has it absolutely correct in “The Watchman’s Rattle” when she presents the thesis that humans have evolved MUCH faster socially (The inventions of agriculture and economics) than we have biologically. Why, for example, do humans have one of the very few short-term estrous cycles for large mammals?

    To be continued…

  10. Also kudos for the newspaper bravely endorsing him. Think about it – this is arch-libertarian Idaho. I fear for its “life”.

    From what I read and see (facts???), he is an anomaly. Most teens are glued to their screens.

  11. For Millenials and Zoomers and the emerging Alphas, Boomers and many Xers represent a Bad Example….one not to follow. As one of the eldest of Boomers I can say that I’m truly disappointed how many whiners there are in those two generations. Spoiled?

    I find it hard not to agree with Mark Cuban who recently said he is disappointed in Boomers and has much hope for Zoomers.

  12. The world is at several tipping points, thermodynamically, culturally, politically, and Putinly, and we don’t know which we will exceed. The nature of tipping points though is that in order to be sustainable our species cannot afford to exceed any. That certainly seems unlikely.

  13. From the discussion today: “the kids are all right” and previous rants about the abortion ban, from stage right, or was it left?, Vernon interjects a pregnant question: “Why, for example, do humans have one of the very few short-term estrous cycles for large mammals?

    To be continued…”

    Really, Vernon?! I can hardly wait with eager anticipation where this is going … within range of context, of course.

    Press on, Sheila.

  14. Norris,

    Your snark notwithstanding, but when “modern” humans evolved, they lived in small, tribal units of about 50 individuals. These were the hunter/gatherer tribes of our earliest, post CRO-MAGNON level of development. Well, the next time you and your hearty male neighbors sally forth to hunt big game with spears and clubs, you’ll better understand what attrition is. Oh, and be mindful of those hungry leopards and hyenas who are eager to feast on the relatively weak humans.

    Okay. Back in those days there was no such thing as EMT or 911 should something go wrong in childbirth, or birth defects, etc. So, as a prey species, the humans had to out-reproduce the attrition of their lifestyles in order to survive and keep the gene pool alive. So, you have a tribal scenario where the males are under great stress from hunting while at the same time, their “competition” trying to feed off of the same food supplies hunted them too. The females tended to be the “gatherers”, child-rearers and heath tenders. The females almost certainly outnumbered the males…which was a good thing. So, in order to produce more offspring than were being killed, maimed and eaten, the females had to be producing babies at a rate greater than the attrition.

    Are you with us so far? A thirty-ish day estrous cycle kept the females producing ova for the fewer males to fertilize. Imagine the politics of the cave when the alpha male was killed by a very pissed-off rhino or gored by an antelope. Who then would dominate the fertilization process?

    One thing we sometimes forget is that the basic reason for life is to reproduce it. That’s how biological chemistry works.

  15. Yes, please ban me for uttering falsehoods. And if you research the whole story on Google, you will see that CBS News changed its story and got hammered across the globe.

    Really peeps, you must get off your arses and stop gathering intel from the televisions.

    “There are like power lords, oligarchs, political players,” Ohman said in April, describing the corruption and bureaucracy he had to work around.. “The system itself, it’s like, ‘We are the armed forces of Ukraine. If security forces want it, well, the Americans gave it to us.’ It’s kind of like power games all day long, and so eventually people need the stuff, and they go to us.”

  16. We don’t need to “get out of the way.” We need to get behind them and support them as best we can.

  17. Propaganda becomes truth to those who favor an outcome agreeable to their pre-conceived bias. Perhaps CBS killed the story because of its questionable sourcing, lack of verifiable evidence etc. There may be alternative explanations, and perhaps in the long run a consideration of why we are having a war is far more deserving of our attention that how it is being conducted what with the usual thievery and profit-taking all wars encompass.

    Thus when I was in the South Pacific in 1944 I would never have dreamed that Germany and Japan would be our best buddies within my lifespan. In a thumbnail review of subsequent history, including Truman’s use of the a-bomb, the Marshall Plan, Russian occupation of Eastern Europe, Russia’s de-sovietization, the rise of China, the elevation of a criminal to our presidency or disastrous wars in Korea and Iraq etc., it seems clear to me that wars are fought not only for expansion (see Japan’s expansionary “East Asian Sphere of Influence” and Hitler’s gobbling up of neighboring states) but that on the more mundane level of experience such wars are (unknown at the time) fought for “realigned” or “shifting” alliances.

    So what’s next? Shall we be allied with Russia and/or China and in opposition to the UK, France and other long term allies? Ridiculous? That would have been my response in 1944 had you told me that we would in the near future be best buddies with Japan and Germany. We are not in a flag-waving contest; we are rather in the real politik world of Kissinger, a world of shifting alliances depending upon the exingencies of the time.

  18. The “leaky buckets” of supplies for Ukraine are nothing new, but likely only a small fraction of the materials. I noticed that the reporter at CBS couldn’t come close to supplying a number, just sharing rumors and comments. I have a lot more confidence in people who can supply factual details. The Ukrainian military is moving against the Orcs on the ground in ways that can be verified. If that’s not proof of effectiveness, tell me what is.

    If you want to see a verifiable leaky bucket, ask Bret Favre about TANF payments for people in poverty.

  19. Please keep all, who post herein: I – for one – enjoy the range of humor offered.
    Or, as Stonekettle Station [] promotes:
    “Don’t just embrace the crazy, sidle up next to it and lick its ear.”

  20. Several studies – this the most conservative….some say the number is closer to 9 hours…

    [Gen Z} This cohort of consumers, born in and after 1996, watches an average of 7.2 hours of video [screen time] a day, which is nearly an hour more than the 6.3 hours spent by Gen X, according to new market research. Apr 12, 2022

    Time for activism??

  21. I really am tired of the comparison of generations
    The front end of the Boomers put their lives on the line and traveled to Mississippi for the Civil Rights movement; the back end protested the war in Vietnam – and yet a lot of Boomers didn’t.

    I also don’t buy the Dennis Miller meme that he was a “liberal” until he heard someone call a police office a “pig” and then became a right winger. Didn’t happen. Or the Churchill idea of being a liberal in your youth and a conservative in your old age. Boomers were diverse in the beginning and still are. Look at the number of “progressive” commenters to Sheila’s blog who are of “that age”.

    Each generation has its moments, but it does look like the younger generation has opened their eyes to the “greed is good” ideal of the Reagan era.

    Now for the other reality – It feels good to march and sign petitions, but the real test is if the younger generation VOTES, and, even better, if like Rajbhandari, they actually runs for office to make a difference.

    I suspect that marching and protesting had a bigger impact when it spurred the three networks to report on the conditions in the South and in Vietnam with pictures. Today, half of the country looks at “alternative” news sources that would never have reported those stories.

    Let’s just hope for more young people like Rajbhandari. I am not “getting out of the way”; I am welcoming for all who want to lead in the right direction, regardless or age or any other superficial characteristics. Only idiots discard experience and gained knowledge as irrelevant. “OK, Zoomer” – actually it was first said by a “Millennial”, but …

  22. I’m really confused by some of the comments today!!

    Humans have menstrual cycles rather than estrous cycles.! And what does this have to do with a seemingly great young man winning a seat on the school board in Idaho?

    I thought CBS News was TV! Where are Todd’s “alternative facts” coming from was the question!!

    Somedays the comments seem a bit much!!

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