- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 18, 2018

Students who witnessed the school shooting last week in Parkland, Florida, have already organized a “March for Our Lives” in Washington next month which has quickly gained traction after the young organizers appeared on multiple Sunday talk shows to make their case — particularly to unnamed lawmakers.

“The adults in power who are funded by the NRA — I don’t even think we need them anymore because they’re going to be gone by the midterm elections. There’s barely any time for them to save their skins. And if they don’t turn around right now and state their open support for this movement they’re going to be left behind. Because you are either with us or against us at this point,” Emma Gonzales, a student organizer from Stoneman Douglas High School, told CBS.

“The mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues. No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address gun violence issues,” the students state at MarchforOurLives.com, their new website.

Other activists have rushed in with their support. The Women’s March Network — the highly organized group behind large-scale women’s marches on Washington and similar events — plans a dramatic “student walkout” on the one-month anniversary of the horrific Parkland shooting, complete with instant social media. Some walk outs will be staged in elementary schools.

“Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. across every time zone on March 14, 2018 to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. We need action,” the organizers advise. “We want Congress to pay attention and take note: many of us will vote this November and many others will join in 2020.”

Another student-organized walkout in planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. A petition of support for the event has already drawn 45,000 signatures at Change.org.

THE DISMAL TIDE

Discussions — often without viable conclusions or practical recommendations — continue to rage in the news media on myriad topics, from gun control and morality to inclusiveness, terrorism and immigration. Some critics claim it is not a balanced discussion.

“For fifteen years and more, I have been complaining that the right is silenced in our culture — blacklisted and excluded and ignored in entertainment, mainstream news outlets, and the universities. But the flip side of that is this: the degradation of our culture is almost entirely a leftist achievement. Over the last fifty years, it’s the left that has assaulted every moral norm and disdained every religious and cultural restraint,” writes Andrew Klavan, a PJ Media columnist and media commentator.

“The left owns the dismal tide. They don’t like the results? They’re looking for someone or something to blame? Maybe they should start by hunting up a mirror,” recommends Mr. Klavan, who also had advice from left-leaning folks bent on change.

“Perhaps they should have listened to the Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton, who wrote about the difference between reforming society and deforming it — a passage that was neatly paraphrased by John F. Kennedy: ‘Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up’,” Mr. Klavan noted.

ROMNEY’S GOT A CHALLENGER

John Dougall, a state auditor in Utah who is seriously considering challenging Mitt Romney for the Senate seat Utah in the Beehive State, says he is driven by “the importance of having a conversation rather than a coronation,” among other things.

“We need to talk about what we want our U.S. senator to be rather than talk about who it should be. And as an auditor, I know that single-source bidding is no way to do business,” Mr. Dougall told David Cantanese, senior political writer for U.S. News & World Report.

“I think Romney’s beatable. Clearly the odds are in his favor. He’s got very high name ID, he’s got piles of money. But there’s always an opportunity, always a chance for someone to win, especially in this race. This seat has been occupied for 42 years,” Mr. Dougall says, referring to outgoing Sen. Orrin Hatch’s seven-term tenure. “We need to have a conversation.”

THE EMPATHY GAP

“Since the beginning of the 1970s, people who sit in a pew every Sunday are decreasingly represented in the industries that control our popular culture, entertainment, media and politics,” writes New York Post columnist Salena Zito, prompted to comment after ABC’s “The View” host Joy Behar essentially mocked the faith of Vice President Mike Pence during a broadcast last week, and before an enthusiastic audience.

Ms. Zito recalled that Mr. Pence was booed when he attended a public performance of the Broadway hit “Hamilton,” and more recently chastised for his stern demeanor the Olympics. She also cited Pew Research Center figures which revealed that “residents of red states” are more religious then those in coastal states, where much media and entertainment is produced.

“This empathy gap often isolates people of faith as they are depicted as being odd, unhinged, outside the norm — or ‘clinging to their religion,’ as Barack Obama once said on the campaign trail,” Ms. Zito said, adding, “This country was built on tolerance towards all peoples, including religious ones. The cultural elite should remember that mocking them is no different from mocking someone because of their race, gender or sexual persuasion — groups they so fiercely and rightly work to protect.”

POLL DU JOUR

⦁ 66 percent of Americans say “Presidents Day” on Monday should honor all U.S. presidents, not just George Washington; 63 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents and 70 percent of Democrats agree.

⦁ 43 overall plan “to do nothing” on the holiday; 41 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 43 percent of Democrats agree.

⦁ 17 percent overall plan to spend time with family; 19 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats agree.

⦁ 17 percent overall are unsure of their plans; 13 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

⦁ 5 percent will go shopping; 5 percent of Republicans, 4 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats agree

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 11-13.

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