Parkland Students Show How It’s Done – We Should Be Taking Notes

If winning elections and changing hearts and minds is our goal, then we should be mirroring the Parkland students. They are on point, and their techniques are resulting in building support for their issues. That is our goal, right? You’ll forgive me for asking since I’m not sure given some of the methods we are employing.

These kids are “for” something. They’ve stated their positions, and framed the debate, quite clearly, and, while they’ve garnered a few enemies, their list of supporters far outweighs their detractors. They know that success depends on votes, and not simply kicking people out of the club.

Sure, they’re snarky, but their snark is directed and effective. They are extremely skilled at not alienating people. They want as many people as possible to agree with them. That’s what winning looks like, btw. If you aren’t following these kids on Twitter, you should be. Their skill on this platform is second to none. It’s amazing to watch how they grow their base. And it is growing.

When I watch these kids I can’t help but to think that we need to follow their lead. Sure, the rabid gun owners will never agree with them, but they’ve reached many other gun owners. They’ve achieved something I didn’t think possible – They’ve split gun owners into groups. They’ve grown their support with nuance, by pointing out that not all gun owners agree with the NRA. They’ve focused on the NRA, and the politicians that it supports. They’ve given people room to grow and change and have rewarded that growth and change. Which has led to more growth and change. That’s the recipe for winning elections.

But even their clear focus on what they want allows for evolution. Politicians who’ve changed their positions on guns are thanked. The kids push for more, but they accept and praise anyone who moves in their direction. They do not paint them as lifelong enemies. They give them room to change their minds… and their votes.

And with changed minds we’re getting actual gun law discussions and policy changes. Not nearly enough yet, but change is happening. Don’t believe me? Then tell me the last time the NRA, and politicians who support the organization, have ever come under such scrutiny. Show me the last time the NRA had to play defense – let alone had to defend their positions. These kids have broken the predictable cycle every mass shooting has followed so far. They’ve also shown Americans exactly who the NRA is. They are making the NRA toxic, and uncool. That’s the death knell to any organization. That’s what progress looks like.

This is what we can do better. We can stop with the “never good enough” stance. We could try and give praise where praise is due. That does not mean we can’t criticize. We can and should. LOUDLY. That criticism needs to be backed up by action. Complaining without action won’t accomplish a thing. If your goal is changing the way things are, that means changing people’s minds. Sometimes I doubt that’s actually our goal. Sometimes it seems we focus more on us, and our liberal/progressive street cred, then results. We toss people into boxes and never allow them to leave. We demand they change their ways and when they do we don’t acknowledge it. In fact, many times we call them out for switching to our side, question their authenticity and paint them as political opportunists. Do we even know what winning looks like?

Lately, we sound more like the Tea Party. Which is a ridiculous path to follow. Dems, liberals, progressives are incapable of falling in line. We’re just too diverse. Modeling your political strategy on the Tea Party won’t work. We aren’t homogeneous.

Watch and learn from the Parkland kids. That’s what a revolution looks like.


36 comments on “Parkland Students Show How It’s Done – We Should Be Taking Notes

  1. Jack Polidori

    Outstanding points about their actions to date. Their continuing media savvy and presence absolutely have to be coupled with political precision … bills to be filed, votes to be publicized, elected officials to be held accountable, advocates to be elected, and the construction of an on-going, organized grassroots presence. People like to gripe about all of the money at the disposal of the NRA and the corporate gun lobby but the fact of the matter is that their minions are vocal and politically aggressive/organized. These young folks are bringing together the sentiment and the energy to provide the long-needed support for much needed change in public policy. God bless ’em.

  2. Kumbaya.

    • It’s not kumbaya. Not in the least. These kids have accomplished more in two weeks than any of us have in decades. They aren’t ceding ground. They are holding firm and not making enemies for enemies sake.

      What’s interesting is the very people calling out these strategies are the same ones who called for appealing to the white working class, by using – you guessed it – these strategies. The only difference is that these kids are holding firm on their issues, unlike those who were ready to toss social issues away to woo the straight, white christian voter.

  3. Newsflash: It’s not the kids organizing this, and who would really think that it’s a good idea to turn the reins of a political party over to children? I understand the optics and politics of parading around the objects of an important political and social issue, but common now.

    Just curious pandora, are you one of those people who thinks that the US should lower the voting age?

    • Do you need more tinfoil, RSE? Of course it’s the kids organizing this. And no one handed them the reins – they took control. I do notice how you avoid addressing their points.

      I haven’t given much thought to voter age, but I’m not instinctively against it. So many of our laws impact them so strengthening their voice makes a lot of sense.

    • We all know you’re itching to type his name… Just do it… C’mon… Sean Hannity already told you as much….

      • What I find amazing, Prop Joe, is how RSE calls out these kids then admits down thread he has no idea what their platform is. Wonder who’s organizing RSE?

        • Me, organized?…Who has a tin foil hat now, pandora? Oh, yeah, I was wondering if you were going to the March For Our Lives event in Washington DC, that these (“kids”) are organizing?…lol

        • The kids did organize this, but you would know that if you actually followed this story – which you’ve admitted you haven’t.

          You said, “Yes, they bring more emotion to the issue, and possibly some more radical tactics, like skipping school, but tell me what else. Maybe I’ll agree.”

          Tell you what else? Maybe you’ll agree? This comment tells me your opinions aren’t factually based, so yeah, I’m questioning why you’re weighing in on subject you admit ignorance of. Why exactly do you feel this way? What are you reading and watching that makes you believe the kids aren’t the organizers?

          • I watched Jake Tapper’s rally on CNN, and more. BTW, he really took care of that Sheriff for cheapening his potentially ground breaking and award winning event. It reminded me of what Oprah did to that guy who wrote “A million Little Pieces”….Jake Tapper has the best look of disgust in the business, doesn’t he.

            It’s just common sense, pandora. Do you really think these kids are organizing this on their own. Who’s paying for all of it? You have to know that they couldn’t possibly be.

            They are being completely handled at this point…Looks like they even got rid of the kid from “Deliverance”. I liked him, He just sat there smoldering like he may just snap at any moment.

            • You don’t have a single shred of evidence for this claim. Not one shred.

              • No, I don’t. I’m speculating…Just like you are.

                • Yeah, no. There is actual reporting on this.

                  I’m sorry you don’t seem to know any smart, articulate, passionate teenagers.

          • And now we have Alex “Sandy Hook was a Hoax” Jones begging one of these teens for help to get back in YouTube’s good graces. Perhaps you should tell Mr. Jones that these teens aren’t the ones in charge.

      • Sean Hannity is classified as an entertainer, like 90% of what the rest of what they call news media is, Prop Joe. It’s how they legally get away with some of the shit they say.

  4. I do realize that some of them are eighteen, but still.

    • But still… what? Your concern seems to come from the fact that you disagree with them. You’re using their age to discredit their words and actions. Address their points.

      • These kids are getting a valuable civics lesson at an early age. They are finding out that going on TV and organizing protests really doesn’t mean that much. They are learning the cold hard reality that voters decide what legislation gets passed in this country and if you don’t have the votes, it doesn’t matter how righteous you think are or how popular you think your ideas are. Maybe they will change some voter’s minds on this issue but I sure don’t see their ideas (banning semiautomatic weapons sales) getting much traction.

        • If they were a little less ambitious and smarter they should be able to get an updated version of the Manchin-Toomey bill passed (expanded background checks, close gun show loophole). I think they will get there on a bill like this, if not I am a little disgusted with both sides on this issue.

          • Wow. It’s been two weeks. I wouldn’t write them off so quickly. Seems they’ve got civics under control.

  5. Yes, they bring more emotion to the issue, and possibly some more radical tactics, like skipping school, but tell me what else. Maybe I’ll agree.

    • Are you actually claiming to not know what they’ve been saying and advocating for? There’s no way that’s possible. These kids and their message are literally everywhere. If you haven’t listened then you aren’t qualified to take part in this discussion. Read up and get back to me.

  6. BTW, I’m not sure that I like your “reply” tool on this page without a time account on it. You see how my post script now seems like a separate reply to your comment.

  7. How come people are not protesting in the streets, about all the shootings in Wilmington?
    Or the opioid/heroin crisis?
    Or the number of politicians, who took money from planned parenthood?

    The FBI said it failed to act on a tip about the suspected Florida school shooter’s potential for violence

    We need safer schools!! And better background checks on gun purchases!

    Could see how our past President did such a great job! Typical liberals, blame it on someone else.

    • You seem to think I’ll defend problems in the system. I won’t. They need to be fixed. This isn’t a problem with one solution – no matter how hard you try and make it one.

      Good job on not linking to another Scientology site this time!

    • cassandram

      You know, there are marches and protests and vigils about gun violence in Wilmington. Some of them don’t get alot of play, like the Wilmington Peacekeepers and others are likely overcovered — like the few Black Lives matter marches. Just because you don’t live here and don’t care about what goes on here except to make a silly point — it is no reason to assume that there is not a community working to push back on the violence.

  8. nathan arizona

    Except to a right-wing religious nut, which one of these is different from the other ones? “shootings in Wilmington”; “opioid/heroin crisis”; “politicians who took money from Planned Parenthood.” Even if you don’t like Planned Parenthood, no normal person would equate the three.

    • Not to mention he’s wrong.

      There are city residents, and others, working on Wilmington’s crime problem. He doesn’t have any idea what these dedicated people are doing. I will point out that addressing the gun issue would help the issue he’s “claiming” to care about. (btw, this is the standard black-on-black crime argument that conservatives love to trot out – it’s where they get to pretend they know and care about something they couldn’t care, or know, less about.)

      Plenty of people are sounding the alarm in dealing with the “opioid/heroin crisis”.

      And, duh, people protest PP every day.

      If these issues matter to you, Anono, then organize a march/protest.

      Your comment is pure deflection. You want to change the subject. Not happening.

  9. Hey alphabet soup brothers,
    you reek of desperation.
    Look, just because YOU are non functional or mystified by social media doesnt mean these young people are. Im willing to bet there is a teen in your life who knows your phone WAY better than you do. Meet a whole generation who makes you look functionally illiterate with technology. Facebook, Twitter, yikyak, instagram… As well as folks in my agre bracket have learned to use those tools. these are second languages to GenZ.
    It’s something you sneer at and don’t comprehend, but it’s coming for you and your guns.

    • Whenever I get new tech (and I buy a lot of tech products), I immediately hand it over to my kids. They teach me what I need to know! What they can do in seconds on their phones is nothing short of amazing. If you haven’t had a teen teach you how to use your devices and what they can do you’re missing out on a lot!

      Ben, the reason they aren’t aware of the actual revolution taking place with young people is because they aren’t listening to young people and never venture into the tech world (or any young centered spaces) these kids inhabit. The alphabet soup brothers and anono can’t imagine these kids organizing because they have no idea how this is accomplished with a phone.

      • Im also guessing they werent stellar teens themselves. Probably wasting their time smoking terrible weed and thinking music made in the 80s was any good. The 2000 “election” ( I was 15) REALLY got me to be aware of what was going on in the world. My Sr year, I organized a small group of fellow students to go to DC to protest the oncoming Iraq war… I’m STILL waiting on my check from George Soros. This isnt a brag, mind you. Im not all that impressive or exceptional and i pulled it off with no such thing as social media. You know as well as I do that adults have no idea what we’re doing. It shows that you cant argue against the points they are making and instead are attacking their age or motives. You’ve lost.
        The irony is, that when your “world” is crushed, you get a safe nation, better health care, cleaner water/air and a better safety net when you are too old to work anymore.

      • I know plenty about tech and sure as hell don’t rely on my kids to understand how a device works. Most of these kids that are so “tech savvy” know nothing about the underlying principles of the technology they are supposedly so fluent with. Many have never written a line of code and couldn’t explain a for to next loop if their life depended on it. They just click away until they get the result they want. Until something doesn’t work and Dad has to teach them about reinstalling drivers, checking how much disk space remains, or how to use formulas in Excel.

        So get off my lawn :).

        • Wow! My kids did all that stuff in middle and high school. Yours must be really young. They’ll be doing all of that soon enough! And you’ll get a break!

          That said, the kids today are tech user savvy.

  10. Oh, and how did those protests against Bush work out? Seems to me he won reelection pretty handily despite losers like you waving signs in DC.

    • Yeah, That war is remembered so fondly and he is seen as such a success.
      Sit down, gramps, you’re bringing Bingo skills to a shuffleboard game.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: