George Boardman: Reaction to teen march makes you wonder who the juveniles are | TheUnion.com

George Boardman: Reaction to teen march makes you wonder who the juveniles are

George Boardman
Columnist

Adults who viewed with approval the March for Our Lives saw the event as an awakening of America's next generation of adults, willing to engage the issues of the day, a sign they are not self-absorbed twits lost in their Instagram world.

Critics of the event viewed the participants as sheep easily led by adults with their own agendas, another example of the dismal failure of America's education system to encourage critical thinking and a reverence for the ideals that made this country great.

Fair enough. Everybody won't agree on something as contentious as curbing gun violence, but how many of those adults who disagreed didn't set a good example for the youth of America? It makes you wonder who exactly the juveniles are in this instance.

Many critics viewed the students participating in the march as mere tools of the anti-gun crowd, too young and naïve to appreciate the interplay of money, politics and policy in deciding such a contentious issue. As proof, they cite large contributions to back the effort and the role adults played in organizing the protest.

It is true that celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney and Steven Spielberg made six-figure donations to the cause, and that adult supporters obtained permits and handled the logistics required to pull off such a large demonstration in Washington, D.C. After all, these are kids — too young to legally take responsibility for such an event.

But not all of America's youth are naïve, easily susceptible to the siren songs of the lefties. Take Kyle Kashur, a 16-year-old Parkland student who visited with the president, several Republican senators, and made an appearance on — you guessed it — Fox News because he criticized the march. Maybe there's hope for America's youth after all.

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Conservative critics reserved most of their venom for Parkland massacre survivors Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg. Gonzalez in particular has become the poster child for the gun control movement, and her critics reacted in a manner that has become all too familiar to those who follow the antics of the wacky right.

A picture of Gonzalez ripping up a gun-range target was altered to show her ripping up a copy of the Constitution. The picture quickly made the rounds on conservative and alt-right sites like Gab, which tweeted the image to 100,000 followers, some of whom actually thought the picture was legitimate. These are people who think the kids are being manipulated!

Gonzalez also incurred the wrath of Rep. Steven King, who criticized her for wearing a patch of the Cuban flag on her clothes. First, Gonzales' father migrated to the U.S. from Cuba. Second, the Cuban flag has been around since 1902—long before Fidel Castro came to power—and is used as a symbol of nationalism by both the Cuban government and anti-Castro exiles.

Hogg had to put up with various riffs on his last name (you know, pig, piggie, piglet), the kind of sophomore humor you don't expect from mature adults. Then there were the critics of his crude language, this from people who have no problem with a president who regularly debases the office he occupies with similar language.

Several right wing web sites claimed the Florida students were "crisis actors" and a right-wing blog, Red State, said Hogg wasn't at the school during the shooting (the claim was later retracted).

Even Fox News talking head Laura Ingraham couldn't resist piling on, mocking Hogg because he was rejected by four campuses of the University of California system. She later apologized. (You would think the UC system would be a perfect fit for Hogg. Must be the quota thing.)

Several critics said the students were no better than the Hitler Youth — InfoWars even overlaid a speech Adolph Hitler made at a Nazi rally with footage of Hogg's speech. These guys can't even get their political comparisons right: Instead of Hitler Youth, a more accurate analogy is the Komsomol, Lenin's Young Communist League.

Finally, we have Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator who some people actually supported for president. His solution to gun violence in schools? "How about kids, instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations where there are violent shooters?"

There are a couple of problems with this suggestion. First, CPR doesn't do any good when blood is gushing from open wounds. Second, isn't it the responsibility of adults to solve problems?

The real problem conservatives have with these kids is that they are going to press the issue of gun violence through the mid-term elections, and that four million of them will become eligible to vote this year.

They are not likely to cast votes that reflect conservative values. Every poll taken in the last 20 years shows that only those over 50 hold conservative views on the wedge social issues of the day, and that young adults favor an inclusive society that respects our diversity, a trend many of their elders see as threatening to their values, which they always claim are America's values.

All conservatives have to offer is resistance, generally in the form of gerrymandering of legislative districts and laws designed to make it difficult for minorities to vote in an effort to prolong the clout of our dwindling white majority as long as possible. No wonder these guys are reacting like children.

George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays by The Union. Write to him at ag101board@aol.com.

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