EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s feature first appeared online in The Daily Caller and is reprinted here with permission of the author.
“Cliches, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.” —Hannah Arendt
If the “March for Our Lives” rallies held around the nation and the world are about creating awareness and finding solutions to violent crime, count me in. If the movement is about finding a scapegoat to this societal ill, and rolling out the same old failed liberal policies, call me bored.
One cannot avoid the symbolism and potency of the moment. When a movement this large and well organized tells politicians to “listen to us”, they would be wise to listen to them. The supporters of the rallies should be applauded for peaceful and civilized practice of the First Amendment right that ensures freedom of speech and assembly.
The vast majority of participants included “Generation Z.” Demographers have identified this generation as having been born between 1995 and 2012. Z was chosen because it comes after generation Y, also known as millennials. One can be forgiven for assuming Z is a nod for this generation’s affinity for all things zombie.
Giddy aging hippies — many of whom still fib about attending Woodstock — and hyped cable news anchors see it is a kind of debutante ball for the young folks. Of course, those who didn’t rally in all likelihood don’t know what a debutante is and very well may be suspicious because it sounds French. Plus they are probably home with their parents in rural America “clinging to their guns and religion” as former President Obama was caught saying on a hot mic at a fancy party in San Francisco.
How did we get here is a question worth asking. So, too, is asking what part did the left play in giving directions to the driver of the car. Rallies don’t happen just because of twitter just like killings don’t happen just because of guns.
There are serious social ills threatening our society. Younger people feel especially vulnerable because of the hideous, hateful, evil school shootings that are all too familiar in 21st-century America. They don’t feel listened to and we’re probably not talking to them properly.
If those of us born prior to 1995 can’t find solutions other than scapegoating then we have failed the Z generation. For years the left has used the National Rifle Association as a bogeyman. They lay gun violence directly at the foot of law abiding gun owners deflecting efforts away from the root cause.
The reason they are marching is because of failed liberal political policies not because the National Rifle Association has a great direct mail program. For too long the left has had only one strategy to combat gun violence and for them that means more gun control. Amendments that work for them like the First Amendment are great but the Second Amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms is out of date and should be tossed.
Blaming the NRA is a canard that needs to be exposed. Projecting blame on a political action committee is a deflection. The NRA has a large membership because a lot of Americans own guns and abide by the laws. The left views them concurrently as an electoral threat and electoral weapon. Offering up votes on bills in Congress they know can’t get passed is a craven political move. Nothing gets done but they can pander to their base in elections. The manifestation of which is unchecked violence.
Hopefully the marches put an end to school walkouts. Ludicrous is the notion that this is a suitable tactic. Condoned truancy is a cop-out for parents who don’t want to take a deep dive in to the underlying societal issues at the root of the epidemic. Our job as parents is to educate our children not to take the lazy way out and let them skip class. This nonsense is one slippery slope that should be blocked off.
We live in an era where Americans are buying up conspiracy theories like toilet paper in a snowstorm. Now is the time to offer some good solutions. The March for Our Lives is useful in making us pay attention. Notably, however, until the left is willing to look in the mirror (preferably in Nancy Pelosi’s Minority Leader’s office), they have lost any moral high ground they claim. Generation Z will in all likelihood demand concrete solutions not political pablum and ideological finger pointing.
Plenty of clever — and some embarrassingly vacuous — signs were bravely held aloft bearing bumper stickerisms like “Enough is Enough” and “Listen to Us.” In spite of this the smart money is to bet on the kids. This movement has more credibility than a Putin re-elect.
This generation can lead on issues like gay rights. Politically, that battle is over and gay marriage is the law of the land. They can lead on issues stemming violence and prison overcrowding. The USA is probably ready for a little libertarian latte. Now that visibility on gun safety is higher, my friends on the left would be smart to step up to the table with solutions that can pass in Congress and that means pass the smell test of Americans.
The future is bright for the “Z” generation. Let’s march with them. But let’s march without red herrings.
Let’s find solutions that don’t include doing a cut and paste on the Bill of Rights.
— Michael J. Hudome
Hudome is a Republican media consultant whose clients have included John McCain for President, all four national committees and several current and former members of the House and Senate.