Proud of kids who walked out
After hearing about the students participating in walkouts across our nation in solidarity with the victims of the Parkland, Fla., shooting, I must say that I’m very proud.
It inspires me to see young people standing up for what they believe in and making their voices heard. Far from this sort of active protest being ineffectual or just preaching to the choir, the students in these walkouts have already seen results of speaking out in the form of gun control legislation signed into law in Florida.
These young people have also progressed the conversation around gun control in a way the massacre at Las Vegas did not, precisely because they have been so outspoken and have demonstrated in public.
To all those who consider these sorts of protests uncivil or illegal: Are the rights of the First Amendment not as important as those of the Second? People of all ages have a right to free speech, even if you don’t agree with what they have to say. If these students decide to protest, then they are following in the footsteps of every great social revolution in the history of this nation: the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and yes, the American Revolution, which created this country in the first place. To speak your mind and have your voice heard is an essential and historical component of our American society, not a threat against it.
The high schoolers walking out over the last several weeks are just a few years away from voting. Politicians and the elder generation would be wise to listen to what they have to say, and to encourage them to participate in the way our society functions. Democracy is not a spectator sport - we must fight for what we believe in and make our voices heard, both at the ballot box and in the streets. We should all be proud of those who choose to do so.