There is an education going on in America, and the class is mixed.
Slouching in the back row are smug political, media, and corporate leaders convinced they already know everything and are in complete control of their world. Too many of these self-assured “winners” do little to no homework or preparation for class, check their hair and make-up more often than their facts, and spend most of their energies coming up with ways to get over rather than actually make any meaningful contributions.
In the middle of the class are working people, parents and, yes, actual students, growing numbers of whom are frankly sick of the bullies and asshats and mean girls in the back of the room and are shocked by what they see happening.
The first seats? They’re empty because the best students have stepped to the front of the class and begun teaching.
Those louts in the back are being forced to confront a hopeful set of truths these days:
-The Parkland shooting survivors lost all fear among the gunfire;
-They know the game as well or better than those supposedly in charge, and show zero hesitation when it comes to taking real action;
-They are not focused only on their personal gain like the ones in the back;
-And, most importantly, they are not alone.
David Hogg demonstrated this to Fox’s Laura Ingraham with stinging clarity this week when he responded to her arrogant, tone deaf abuse by calling on those who have risen to join the Parkland survivors in their cry of #enough. He urged all those with the movement to contact Ingraham’s advertisers promising a boycott unless they fire such an inhumane TV talking head.
Thousands and thousands responded, either retweeting the call to arms or directly shaming the companies for knowingly sponsoring Ingraham’s arrogant abuse of a shooting survivor.
Ingraham tried apologizing but Hogg just exposed that for what it was – a desperate attempt to salvage whichever advertisers remained.
The pressure continues.
Yesterday, a panelist on @NicoleWallace’s show asked how often these young activists can go to the boycott well. I respectfully suggest he may not fully see what is going on here. These kids and their growing legions of supporters are already fully engaged in the new civil rights movement. It won’t be fought in Gettysburg; it has already been fought in Newton, Connecticut, and Charlottesville and Pulse and Baltimore and Parkland and too many other places. Where it has not been fought is in the state legislatures and in Congress and in the White House and in the corporate boardrooms of media and retail conglomerates.
David Hogg and his friends are leading their swelling ranks of supporters onto those battlefields.
Welcome to the war, all you slouching so smugly in the back of the classroom. These students are turning your tools against you, fighting your fake news with facts, your snide remarks with a growing arsenal of public anger, public pressure, and a public waking to the fact that they can make a difference, that they aren’t the sheep you’ve conditioned them to be for generations.
This generation isn’t having that, doesn’t need your permission, or want your approval.
As a teacher, I plan on standing with those who step to the front of the class to participate in this civil war. And I have no problem being a foot soldier rather than colonial.
These kids have prepared well, use their intelligence to combat arrogance, and wield sheer numbers to combat intransigence.
I would be proud to contribute to their cause.