Ageism is a real system of oppression. The way that people over the age of 65 are targeted more specifically for certain kinds of fraud and violence related to long term care facilities and services and also the way that young people are manipulated and abused by adults. There is no doubt that age constructs a system of power. In some places, 18 has been determined as the age that you can be tried as an adult, 21 is the age that you can drink - the arbitrary passing of 'a year' grants certain social, economic and political power and over time it runs out until you are left with none.
The people who economically constructed Western civilization decidedly didn't make adequate systems to care for the elderly and the adults who currently benefit the most, also economically continue to maintain a system where people become 'disposable' at a certain age.
I have also noticed that the generation that has benefited the most materially from capitalism also participates in agesim, namely in the ways that young people are blamed for many of societal ills generally. Youth is associated with 'folly' or not being hard working, being selfish or vain. And I really want to challenge that assumption. The young people I know are hustlers, despite being denied the right to pursue music or art or things that feed their spirit in favour for getting 'real jobs', they instead seek to do both, and are tired and overworked as a result of it. We have inherited more debt than has ever been imagined in the history of the world - I know more young people (under and around 30) who are in the negative $30,000 - $100,000 dollars, can't imagine how to have house much less how to have or support your children while working several jobs, engaging in activism, participating in community building through events, organizing and/or sharing information on social media and being chronically ill.
And don't even get me started on all of the critiques on our use of social media. Over the internet I have been able to connect with all the people that capitalism tries to keep isolated through lack of accessible services and education. I get to connect with people who my own privilege as a hearing, seeing, English-Speaking cisgender person self distances me from. I have shared information and actions of solidarity with people around the world, as a queer little Black girl, I found love for the first time on the Internet. I am not suggesting that the web isn't fucked up, it is all part of real life and is fraught with the same systems of oppression and abuses that we experience in our physical relationships with each other, and yes the medium is intrinsically related to how we experience it. But this nostalgia for a time where people all said 'Hi' to each other was also a time where my Brown elders were having their houses egged by white supremacists in Vancouver, BC. So maybe we can stop acting like it is always the young people that are the ones who are fucking it up.
We inherited this culture and in many cases we are doing exactly what we are told, when capitalism deprived us from having loving relationships with you (we missed you) where we could have spent time with you and instead we were raised by hours of television that told us exactly the kind of people that we should be and that are valued.
I personally really love and trust younger people as a principle (obviously we have to negotiate our relationships with folks as individuals). I hope you exceed everything that has come before you. I want to tell you all the truth I can about how wonderful we were to each other and how fucked up we were to each other. I hope you can improve on everything that we have done, because the world is really hurting and few benefit at the expense of everyone else. I hope at 9 you will be way smarter than I ever was. You don't have to listen to me because I am your elder, my relative age has nothing to do with my kindness, compassion or wisdom. And while I should be respected you should be too. Disrespect is not warranted because someone is your boss, or your parent or any person in 'authority'. A degree, a gun, 20 years, or a collection of DNA does not give anyone the right to be violent, abusive, manipulative and be wary of any adult who suggests that is true. I trust that you know more about your surroundings and challenges than I do, so I will work really hard to ask a lot of questions, not be judgemental and understand your context as opposed to offering you advice that may have only been relevant in my time and my specific context. I believe that you are intelligent and capable and creative and there are some things you know more about than I do and vice versa. I understand that we are both human and we will both inevitably hurt each other, but I will always work to be accountable, to apologize to you when I am wrong and I hurt you BECAUSE AS ADULTS WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE INCLUDING PEOPLE WHO ARE YOUNGER THAN US and also because I want you to also be accountable to me. When I say that someone is 'acting like a child' I will use it in a positive way or not at all, meaning someone is acting genuinely curious, creative, kind and careful because this is in fact what I have experience the most from children who are in loving homes regardless of access to money.
There was a recent study that I recall where they asked young children (5 - 8) to find as many different uses for a spoon as possible, and they found over 200 on average and then they asked again at 20 and on average they could only find 2. Children are unrestrained by restrictive rules, their imaginations ideally are boundless. I recognize that you are the ones who are most likely to imagine a world for us where we can be entirely free and living in respect and reverence of life and I am grateful to work with you and in solidarity with you.