Much of the country is marveling at the intelligence and sophistication of our first nationwide student march against gun violence a month to the day after a gunman killed l7 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. An estimated 185,000 students from across the nation participated which lasted 17 minutes—one minute for each of the victims. At Washington D.C. thousands others chanted outside the White House, “Hey hey, ho ho/ The NRA has got to go!” Over 1,000 students had a sit-down with their backs to the Capitol. At various locations across the nation, students were interviewed by reporters impressed by the discipline of their message as the students described how they no longer wanted to feel pursued like animals by those who sought to kill them. They chanted, “We will not be hunted!” When asked by reporters, “when you are breaking school rules to be protesting, isn’t that disrespecting your school officials?” in almost unison, they’d say that they want their voices heard. We are not going against their regulations. We do respect our school officials and we will accept their penalties for being absent without permission, but we feel this is part of history. We have to be here. Many in Washington D.C. were each paired with a law maker, others accompanied by house officials and other representatives. From Hawaii to Maine, walk-outs began at 10.00 a.m.
During lunch, students were registering to vote and planning their next step in making even more effective use of social mediums. One eleven year old student handed a reporter a press package developed by the students. Yet, a day later, the house of representatives felt it was not an issue they would deal with at this time.
In Trump’s White House, too many issues emerge daily, making it difficult to focus on any one issue. For instance, the President was beginning a shake up of his Cabinet, resulting in the ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was one of the last to know as he was flying back from an overseas assignment. He had feuded with the president frequently during his 14-month tenure and once was quoted as calling him “a f…ing” moron, never apologizing. But before that news could be adequately digested by Washington insiders and reporters, Tillerson had been replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Director Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo. Both appointments would require Senate confirmation. H. R. McMaster was rumored to be the next on the chopping block. When confirmed, those remaining would be more in agreement with his thinking, thus giving him, not the board of rivals he once thought he wanted, but instead one that would not discourage him from acting on his impulses, thus putting him back in campaign mode. He felt he knew best what changes needed to be made and sought those who agreed with him.
No one seems to know how long our government can operate with no consequences when its leader refuses to follow Constitutional practices, like telling the truth, divesting oneself from running one’s realtor businesses, honoring other government departments instead of disparaging them. All else in our country are expected to meet the requirements and tests for holding and maintaining a job.
The March for our Lives rally for school safety is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to the nation’s capital on March 24 and another round for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. These remarkably self disciplined student protesters appear frequently on varied television programs such as 60 Minutes and the CBS Morning Show.
Some of my friends see me as ‘a cockeyed optimist’ but i believe that four or more years from now, when these many students across the nation have entered the universities and the vast work world, they will remember these days when they learned the art of precision and respectful protest — knowing exactly what they were protesting, why they were protesting and how to use social media and their own voices to stay on message. It will be this group of students who will be tomorrow’s leaders and the model for those generation of millennials to follow.