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‘March For Our Lives’

Editorial |

Parkland in Florida is a long way from Washington and not merely in terms of distance. Hundreds of thousands of students in the United States of America crafted history last Saturday when they organised the “March For Our Lives”, demanding stringent gun control.

It was a new edition of political activism ~ articulated in Parkland, Washington, and Los Angeles ~ whose pregnant message must have resonated in the echo chambers of the White House.

With gun culture at the root of increasing violence in schools as indeed between whites and blacks, the students, many of them at the elementary stage, have emitted an explosive signal of intent ~ “We will stop at nothing to get politicians to finally prevent it”.

That the sinister culture persists unchecked is a commentary on the pathetic helplessness of successive dispensations, Republican as well as Democratic.

The crowd in Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue, blocking the distance between the White House and Capitol Hill, underlined the sheer spontaneity of the student upheaval against what they condemned as “adults’ inaction”.

It was remarkably apt that the robust expression of student power began in Parkland, where 17 people were gunned down in February.

Hence the stout declaration that “if they continue to ignore us, to only pretend to listen, then we will take action where it counts. We will take action every day in every way until they simply cannot ignore us any more.” The students have threatened to use their newfound power in the impending midterm elections.

Politically, the timing of the movement against the gun is remarkably appropriate. Clearly, the younger generation has taken the initiative in a matter of state policy … where elders have feared to tread.

For the Trump administration, the task must be a dire imperative, no less “urgent” than the cache of tariffs that has been imposed on China’s imports.

The students have made it pretty obvious that the ‘March For Our Lives’ is their first act of protest and the beginning of a “political awakening”.

Seldom since the Vietnam war has the country witnessed so massive a demonstation of student power and in different parts of the country.

It was a message addressed to the legislature no less for in the five weeks since the Parkland massacre, legislators are reported to have disregarded appeals for action towards gun control.

There was hope for change as the tens of thousands of students debunked the National Rifle Association and politicians who for several decades have not dared to touch the gun laws.

Lives have been devastated and Saturday witnessed a collective effort “to make sure our voices get heard”. It is fervently to be hoped that the collective voice will be heard.

The trauma has been overwhelming ~ a fact of America’s way of life that the three organs of a libertarian democracy have failed to acknowledge.