Count me among those Americans who are cheered by the Florida students rising up against the National Rifle Association and Donald Trump for his refusal to acknowledge that America has a problem with too many guns.
The reaction by the students has been swift and strong. Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has emerged as a particularly articulate voice. In one of the fiercest, most moving addresses on out-of-control gun violence I’ve ever heard, she said at a rally on Saturday, “If the President wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.” (You can read her remarks in their entirety here.)
The President, sadly, will never meet with Emma because he’s afraid to. As for her question about how much the NRA paid Trump to be a Republican shill, I can answer that: $21 million to him directly, and another $15 million to other Republicans connected with the campaign.
The Florida survivors, together with the folks who organized the highly-successful Women’s Marches, are planning a National School Walkout on Wednesday, March 14, to “to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.” And, in the Florida shooting’s aftermath, a spontaneous movement, also organized by the Florida survivors, has arisen, March For Our Lives, with local chapters quickly organized from Alaska to Wisconsin to Alabama and even Liverpool, England. They are calling for a second mass rally, on March 24, that “will take to the streets of Washington DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today.”
This is very exciting to those of us who saw the Occupy movement arise in a similar hopeful vein, only to wither away through its own internal blunders. But the Florida student movements have something Occupy never did: moral standing. Where Occupy was a mélange of people and causes, some profoundly wrong, the Florida movement is simple to understand and movingly spiritual. These are young people who underwent trauma, and whom everybody loves.
Now Trump is saying he’s going to have a “listening session” with an audience yet to be identified, but the Florida students see this hoax for what it is: an attempt to make it look like he cares and is doing something when in fact he’s doing nothing—precisely as Wayne LaPierre has instructed. The students first invited him to speak at a town hall on gun violence. But this was something Trump is not prepared to do; obviously, the loose structure of a town hall threatens him with T.V. footage of students, some still in bandages, calling him out for being an NRA tool. Instead, Trump’s surrogates came up with the “listening session,” a bogus non-event that I guarantee you will either never happen, or be an embarrassment to the White House if it does.
Americans can hope that the Florida massacre represents a turning point. Can we finally slow down, if not end, the stranglehold that the reprehensible NRA has on the Republican Party and on all Republican presidents? We can. And if anyone has the stamina and national good will to do it, it’s those Florida survivors. I wish them luck; they should know that the vast majority of Americans are with them!
Source : http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/steveheimoff/YKZT/~3/mmBV34panZo/