Saturday's nationwide protest against gun violence and the NRA's continued promotion of a toxic gun culture is the next step in a battle that the NRA is slowly losing.
Instead of the usual futile malaise that settles over the country after every gun massacre, the March For Our Lives organized by the survivors of the Parkland shooting just six weeks ago (yes, it really was that recent) was vibrant and alive and focused on pushing back against the constant drumbeat of the NRA's "guns everywhere" propaganda. I packed up Anastasia, my 8-year-old reporter in training and my trusty camcorder and headed down to the National Mall to speak to kids and college students not a whole lot older than herself to see what was on their mind.
This is Anastasia practicing her questions. Being a reporter isn't easy, ya know!
Here's a series of interviews we did with students ranging from middle school to college:
These guys were fun. Maybe a little inappropriate, but fun.
These two were there in support of the Parkland students. It's a testament to the power of this 6 week old movement that the people at its core, none of whom are old enough to buy alcohol, can inspire this kind of awe in people they've never met:
Astonishingly, Anastasia and I bumped into two of the teachers from our school, William Ramsay Elementary. Considering the crowd was in the hundreds of thousands, that was a pleasant surprise.
So we interviewed them, too:
These were the youngest kids we spoke to. Please ignore the smudge in the upper right corner. I managed to put my finger on the lens like an idiot and didn't realize it:
Some of these answers were not well thought out; the desire was there but articulating it is not always easy. Others were sharp and insightful. Some were just downright adorable. All of them were passionate and that's a problem for the GOP. Almost everyone Anastasia and I spoke to was old enough to vote or just a few years away from it (volunteers were everywhere registering voters, too). The more they're told to sit down and shut up by the NRA and their puppets in the Republican Party, the harder they're going to push back. Imagine an entire generation of young single issue voters whose main concern is getting guns off the street.
Likely? Maybe not, but they're surely going to start severely punishing any politician that sucks up to the gun lobby regardless of what other issues motivate them. We'll see the first seismic shift in November and every year after that, more teens will be able to vote. They're going to be motivated every time one of their schools is shot up and Republicans send thoughts and prayers instead of concrete legislation to protect them. Sooner or later, Republicans are going to have to start sending those thoughts and prayers to themselves if they want to remain electorally relevant.