America has some new heroes in its pantheon — the young men and women of Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School, who in the wake of the massacre of their fellow students have emerged as perhaps the most effective voices to challenge America’s seeming indifference to the real carnage in America — gun violence.
I watched awed as student Emily Gonzalez asserted her generations leadership at a gun control rally, promising that “Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seated funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call BS,” she said. “They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS”.
We heard Parkland student David Hogg confront the President on television and say, “President Trump, you control the House of Representatives, you control the Senate. You control the Executive. You haven’t taken a single bill for mental health care or gun control and passed it. And that’s pathetic. We’ve seen a government shut down. We’ve seen tax reform, but nothing to save our children’s lives.” Yes, a new voice has arrived — even as, in the case of Hogg and others, they are being mercilessly pursued by conspiracy theorists of the right.
These students, moreoever, are part of a tradition — and it shows. They are the lineal descendants of an older voice — Marjorie Stoneham Douglas herself, fighter, feminist, conservationist, and creator of Florida’s Everglades National Park. She is beaming down from heaven at this younger generation, particularly the young women of that generation, who have taken to heart (and I suspect were directly exposed to) her wisdom.
Douglas’s signature sentiments were almost designed for a moment like the Parkland tragedy, “there is always a need to carry on” she once said, and “You have to stand up for some things in this world.”
Emily and David, and scores of their fellow students, have learned well the most important lesson you need to learn when you are an adolescent — character. Maybe it’s not accidental that they learned it hearing Marjory’s name every day.
She was a real journalist — and would have found Trump’s cheap use of the phrase “fake news” beneath contempt.
And it’s likely that President Trump might wince if he was reminded of this comment Stone once made about her opponents: “Sometimes I told them more than they wanted to know.”