I am hopeful for our nation for the first time in a very long time.
Pat and I were among many hundreds who just attended a March for Our Lives rally organized by young students in Helena. It was one of the more than 800 that took place today across our country after the example of high school students from Parkland, Florida.
The rally was fun, with colorful signs like these:
“Protect the Born Children”
“PTA Not the NRA”
“Arms are for Hugs”
“I Have the Right to Live, no Matter what the NRA Says”
“If a Child Hits Another Child with a Stick, We don’t Blame the Stick, But we take it Away”
and our favorite: “Grab ’em by the Ballots.”
The young people (many of them eighth graders!) who spoke were breathtakingly articulate. They knew their facts. They made it clear they come from homes with hunters, and that they support the second amendment. However, they demanded: (1) gun education and safety programs for adults as well as young people, including requirements to lock up all guns so children cannot get their hands on them; (2) Universal background checks. “It shouldn’t take me less time to buy a gun than to buy a car”; (3) No military assault weapons for civilians. Their only purpose is to kill large numbers of people in a short time; and (4) People who have been convicted of domestic violence, or who have documented mental problems, or who are on a “no fly” list should not have a gun of any sort.
I didn’t realize how depressed I have been about the downward spiral of our nation under a mentally ill president, a majority party that lacks both a conscience and backbone, and a minority party with leaders who are resistant to new ideas, even when the old ones aren’t working anymore. I have been so down I haven’t even been able to write a Friday Good News, a self-indulgent blog for a few friends with the sole purpose of me not completely losing my sense of humor.
I once again have hope for our nation because of these spectacular young people, though I know it won’t happen all at once. Our nation has gone through a rebirth because of youth once before — in the 60s and 70s because of resistance to the Viet Nam War. The reason then was the same as now — young people fearing for their lives and not being willing to take it any more.
We might be living at the dawn of a rebirth of our nation, if we are willing to follow the lead of our youth. Our nation and our world will be better if we do.
It probably won’t come in time for me to recover my sense of humor, but as one of the great philosophers said, “If you try to tell a joke and no one gets it, at least no one is laughing at you.” I think it was Plato. Or Sarah Palin.