The Democratic “Big Tent” has room for all kinds of believers, including those who don’t. So I hope y’all don’t mind some reflections on two Bible verses that’ve been on my mind of late, verses among the noblest and most inspiring in that book, both from the prophet Isaiah.
“And a little child shall lead them.”
The NRA, in its valiant crusade to seem more hip – and not so much the bunkered refuge of testosterone-addled white males – has even – gasp! – hired a black spokesman. This guy attacked the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high schoolers for exploiting their white privilege to gain celebrity for their modest cause of surviving long enough to take their algebra test.
First, I’m truly heartened to learn that Republicans and NRA-zealots are finally admitting that there is even such a thing as white privilege.
Second, if white privilege can be used in the service of those students’ modest cause, then, yes, guilty as charged.
Whatever it takes. And just to take the March For Our Lives rally at the capitol in St. Paul last Saturday – thousands “braving” the wind of early spring in Minnesota – although MSD students did speak, it wasn’t all about them and their “white privilege” of being gunned down between classes. Names and images of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Philando Castile, and others, also appeared, a list too long already, and lengthening by the day.
Speaker after speaker reiterated the point that this movement isn’t just about school shootings, bad as they are. The reason why increasing millions gravitate to a certain slogan of the movement – a slogan that’s such a red flag to those who see guns as a way to maintain control – the reason why the slogan “gun control” has such a hold on us is that plainly guns are OUT of control.
And just as plainly the NRA answer that we need even more guns – their antidote for all ills – is nuts.
But, folks, all that ain’t even the heart of it. An MSD student, 15-year old girl, spoke of her last conversation with a friend, who was planning her classes next term, classes she will never take. The 15-year old survivor, in a voice often breaking with grief and anger, told how she now writes her friend’s name on every homework assignment she hands in.
About then some water somehow got on my cheeks, and I just had to wipe it off because, you know, it made my cheeks cold in the wind of early spring in Minnesota.
We have failed our children. I usually oppose assigning collective responsibility, but here the case fits.
So since we have failed our children, people especially of my generation have a moral responsibility to join hands with these our courageous children and grandchildren, and combat this spiral of madness abetted by the NRA – a domestic terrorist organization if ever there was one – as well as quash the sociopathic cruelty of their political allies, the national Republican party.
I’m sorry … was that too mean?
Here’s what’s happening: The younger of us are overcoming their distrust of politics, and planning to vote, and vote Democratic. For them, how could that choice, now, be plainer?
Democrats are registering new voters, and need to do more. Besides signing up eighteen-year olds, we also need to, systematically, reach out to those UNDER eighteen, and enlist them also as participants in this historic moment.
Of course, there’s a practical point to tapping into youthful idealism; thereby we recruit Democratic voters for years to come, not just for this year.
Speaking of this year …
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those that dwell in a land of darkness, light has dawned.”
Anger is vain and futile unless translated to action. There are times, especially in a democracy, when vast, subterranean currents intersect with individual people and events; the result is transformation and reform.
In a dark land, THIS is such a time. Not 2020 … who really cares that much, now, about who bears the party banner for president? The Democratic base, that isn’t their passion right now.
THIS is the year, THIS is the year we fight back.
Besides, if we don’t, THIS year, really take it to them, what good is 2020?
If we can’t, THIS year, rock the Republicans back on their heels, when can we?
And if we can’t, or won’t, do all in our power to win race after race after race, in districts blue and red and purple and all the colors in between, what does that say about our country, let alone our party?
In a dark land, where the Republicans and the NRA are busying themselves with thoughts and prayers, while our schools – our schools! – have to become hardened fortresses against the madness THEY condone and defend … in that dark land, a light has dawned.
That light is in the voices of the young, of immigrants, of people of color, of women, and yes, of even many white men, voices angry and aggrieved at what our country is becoming.
This isn’t the country we want. This IS the year that light shines in the darkness, a light already fiercely ablaze.
We as Democrats need, THIS YEAR, to do what we can to cause that light to blaze all the brighter.
Blue wave? Republicans, you wish.