Thousands of young people across this country “walked out” of their classrooms on Wednesday of this week — and of course many of those who did (some in elementary school) were far too young to know exactly what was going on. Ostensibly, the goal of the walkouts was to honor the victims of the Parkland, Florida, massacre last month and to explore new ways to prevent any others from becoming victims of violence themselves.
Except that isn’t the whole story. Not at all. The Women’s March group that organized and promoted the walkouts from coast to coast on Wednesday used scores of American children as pawns to advance their radical, leftist agenda.
And far too many citizens and media outlets cheered them for doing that. Unless people wake up to just how damaging this can be, they may compound the problem by behaving the same way with other protests scheduled for later this month and beyond.
In the case of the Wednesday walkouts — and the events scheduled for the near future — too many parents, guardians, teachers and others are rewarding the children who parrot liberal political talking points and punishing those who do not. Attention is the kid equivalent of opioids. They crave it, and to a certain extent, they need it.
All day long, most of the networks, newspapers, and web-based media outlets showered these kids and their adult backers with nonstop attention — and not in a neutral, “this-is-what-is-happening” way, either. An embarrassing glut of the reporting was biased in favor of restrictions on gun ownership and the use of guns.
Reporters themselves were heaping accolades on the protesters, praising them for their “bravery” and commenting about how “amazing” it was to see these kids “leading the nation” on gun control. Some legislators — and you know who they are — even lay down on the ground beside some of the students and chanted right along with them. (New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, we’re looking at you.) Folks like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi — all made their feelings known as well.
The truth is, for some of these kids — not all — the walkouts on Wednesday amounted to a school-sponsored field trip.
The city of Baltimore next week will be busing students to the March 24 March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. Mayor Catherine E. Pugh apparently believes it is appropriate to spend $100,000 of taxpayer money to transport schoolchildren en masse, on a Saturday, to engage in a political protest.
Though the March for Our Lives event — the one to which so many celebrities donated money — is on a Saturday, Wednesday’s event and the one scheduled for April 20 will both occur on school days.
That’s significant, and a major point of contention between those who support and do not support children being used as political pawns.
This week’s march took place on a day that was significant for other reasons. It was the one-month anniversary of the Parkland massacre. Liberals’ argument in favor of holding the protest on that day, in part, is based on the idea that the protest was actually a ceremony held to honor the Parkland victims. Theoretically, it would be a respectful, supportive, nonpartisan way to give the kids a forum for expressing their condolences and feelings about the event.
But hang on. The problem is that at many schools and protest sites, a moment of reflective silence honoring those lost in Parkland wasn’t the focus at all. A quick look at the news yields hours and hours of footage of children marching in the streets, yelling at lawmakers, waving signs with foul language, breaking through school gates, and listening to speeches by liberal politicians, among other things.
Hardly respectful. Hardly supportive (at least not to conservative students). And hardly nonpartisan.
What kid passes up the opportunity to get out of tests and lectures for a day, especially when staying in and “resisting” the urge to march feels pretty much like punishment? (“Sure, kid, stay inside by yourself in a room all alone — while all your friends and classmates are outside making noise and hanging out.” Hello?) Add to that the possibility of students’ seeing themselves on TV that night, along with their friends — and that’s an offer that’s next-to-impossible for some children to resist.
In schools where these walkouts were officially sanctioned, conservative kids were forced to make an untenable choice. If they stayed in their classrooms to learn, their protesting peers and like-minded teachers almost certainly would look down on them. If they participated in the demonstration, they sacrificed their integrity.
Children do not have the nuanced and long-term perspective necessary to make educated decisions about weighty constitutional matters that could profoundly affect those around them.
So much for a supportive experience. It was supportive only of children willing to parrot liberal parents’ and teachers’ political agendas.
What’s worse: The kids’ egos were (and are still) being overinflated with lies regarding their “powerful” voices.
Let’s be real. These young protesters cannot vote (not yet — at least most of them). They cannot sign contracts. They cannot buy guns. Why? Because they’re kids, and they aren’t adequately prepared to do any of those things. Nor should we load that responsibility on them at this point.
Yet we’re saying that they, not adults, can and should run the ship.
Children do not have the nuanced and long-term perspective necessary to make educated decisions about weighty constitutional matters that could profoundly affect those around them (and far more people) for quite some time. Their brains, literally, aren’t fully developed yet — but we’re telling them that they’re “leading”?
As a reader of LifeZette so aptly put it: “These kids belong in school. Nothing more, nothing less.”
It’s time to stop lying to these kids, and to ourselves as well. Adults are lying to kids if they tell them they are “leading” the nation about Second Amendment-related matters. They’re not.
Neither is it “brave” to take part in what amounted to a school-approved field trip on Wednesday. It wasn’t. Given the pressure to take part, it was actually the easier thing to do than to remain back in the classroom and crack open a book.
These activist students are not leading yet — but they will one day. And the messages these kids are given today could come back to haunt the nation tomorrow.
Enough. Enough lying to children. Enough using kids as political pawns for someone else’s gain. Enough opportunistic propagandizing masquerading as “leadership.” Adults need to be adults — and not abdicate their own responsibilities.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.
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