The adults who use these children as political props are conditioning them to live with existential dread. The kids are told that incrementalism and the compromises that result in legislation are threats to their very longevity. They are being encouraged to believe that passion is morally superior to a lifetime of experience and knowledge and that their elders have nothing to teach them. Conscripted into a campaign of emotional blackmail, these children are being robbed of their innocence and, ultimately, their childhoods. And they are doing the cause they claim to support no favors. The deployment of children to agitate for a political outcome signals a sort of intellectual surrender. It is an appeal to emotive reasoning when logic and rationality have failed to persuade.

Unlike the fatalists at her left flank, Feinstein has not surrendered. She hasn’t abandoned the legislative process, as have those who endorsed the Green New Deal’s fanciful economic and environmental reforms. These children should take the senator’s advice; stop talking and start listening. They have a lot to learn.