From HUSTLER Magazine
Today’s Activists Are Tomorrow’s Voters
Students in America keep getting slaughtered, and they’ve finally had enough, taking to the streets. In March tens of thousands of middle school and high school students nationwide walked out of their classes to protest the stubborn lack of gun reform by their supposedly wiser elders. Then later that same month, in Washington, D.C., and across the world, they took part in the March for Our Lives protest.
The politicians cannot ignore this movement—these are children with no political ax to grind. Too many of them have experienced the carnage firsthand, and they can’t be demonized by the right as gun-grabbing ideologues. In a way, they’re like the Vietnam veterans against the war—they’re survivors, and they have more credibility than the average activist on the street. Already they have forced some legislative changes. In Florida, where the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre occurred, the governor signed a bill raising the minimum age for buying a firearm to 21 and extending the waiting period to three days.
Also in Florida, extreme risk protection orders have been enacted authorizing the disarming of people who have expressed threatening behavior, and at least 31 other states are either considering these bills or have lawmakers who are committed to introducing them. Polls show widespread support for such sensible laws, including for comprehensive background checks (supported by 97% of Republicans) and mandatory waiting periods. But will this be enough to turn the tide against the NRA’s stranglehold on state and federal legislators?
In the past politicians could safely ignore the voices of our youth, because so few young people of voting age actually go to the polls. But this is different. They realize their very lives are at stake now, not only from gun violence, but also from climate change, dim job prospects and the massive personal and national debts adults are saddling them with. This generation overwhelmingly favors a progressive agenda, and their hope is our hope.
I suspect that this youth movement is going to be more than another flash in the pan. The gun violence issue has galvanized them, just like the draft galvanized ’60s students against the Vietnam War and in support of the civil rights revolution then unfolding. A 16-year-old survivor of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, Rebecca Schneid, sums it up: “We understand that this is a marathon and that we’ll be fighting for years. We’re just getting started. Now we have to use our rights as voters to make things change.”
Keep up that passion, Rebecca. We’re all behind you one hundred percent!