MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: “Do Your Job” is now “Vote Them Out.”

The March For Our Lives protest, over 800 demonstrations against gun violence that happened all over the world on March 24, 2018.

In watching the news coverage, there’s agreement within the progressive mainstream media that these high school students who survived the Parkland shooting and organized March For Our Lives are exceptional and could be the inflection point for righting our country’s broken political system.  People are sick and tired of our so-called leaders ignoring what the majority want and need.  The sentiment can be summed up by a distinct change in the messaging from previous protests since the election of the current President.  The often heard chant of “Do Your Job” is now “Vote Them Out.”

They are justifiably angry that their elected leadership’s response to the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 students, consists of the patronizing platitude of “our thoughts and prayers are with you“ and the status quo of cowardice and self-deflecting groupthink that “there isn’t enough political will” to enact common-sense, comprehensive gun control laws.

Sure, these exceptional teenagers are privileged and from elite families. They are also part of Generation Z, the first generation to grow up with social media their entire lives.  Combine this ability to build consensus—almost in real-time—with the confidence of the power of the Internet to fact check what their leaders are saying and what others in the world are doing, and they have leapfrogged past years of learned experience previous generations haven’t had in detecting bullshit. So in addition to already being charismatic, they are wise beyond their years.

But most importantly, they’ve had good role models like their parents and teachers.  They were also taught and believed in the American Dream during their formative years; that if they worked hard enough, they could accomplish anything they wanted, including becoming the President of the United States.  They could look to their own President, Barrack Obama, and see an educated and wholesome African-American who epitomized this ideal.  These progressive Gen-Zer’s are the Obama generation.  Thanks for that, President Obama.

In the same way, the National Rifle Association is the poster child with what is wrong with our political system.  A special interest group that has been co-opted and perverted by corporate gun manufacturers.  Anyone who says the answer to gun violence is arming more people with guns has had their morality corrupted by their own insecurity.  Like one of the Parkland students, Alex Wind, said so succinctly, "If teachers start packing heat, are they going to arm our pastors, ministers and rabbis? ... Are they going to arm the person wearing the Mickey Mouse costume at Disney? This is what the NRA wants, and we will not stand for it!"

Yes, this is an inflection point.

When Bernie Sanders talked of a revolution, this is what he meant.  There’s a sense that these Parkland student leaders really know that this is just the start of a sea change.  They are informed and savvy, yet instilled with a social conscience.  Even if they do manage to get through college without getting killed by a yet another person nutting up from the stresses of modern life and the tacit approval for using, through the easy access of, weapons of mass lethality, what do they have to look forward to when a vast majority of their fellow Americans will face the prospects of unpayable student debt, marginal career prospects, unaffordable health care, and retirement insecurity?  Perhaps they have accepted that our political leaders are so systematically corrupted now to the point that our leaders openly use blatant tactics such as trying to normalize “alternative facts” and lies transparently deemed “fake news” for the ineptly hidden agenda of corporate greed.  That our elected leaders are now incapable of doing their jobs.  Almost as if it’s that sobering moment when you realize a parent needs institutionalization.  The sudden reality shift when childhood aspirations are no longer dreams, but plans to just figure out how to keep our lives moving forward.


March For Our Lives rally for gun reform at the California State Capitol Building, March 24, 2018.

March For Our Lives rally for gun reform at the California State Capitol Building, March 24, 2018.