No, I am not a liberal puppet.
There has been a lot of criticism directed at me and the other members of my team who helped organize the March For Our Lives last month in North Charleston, and at our counterparts across the country.
Some of the criticism is related to gun control; that’s fair game. Criticism of the policies I want to see in place is a productive part of civil discourse.
However, most of the criticism (or dare I say, hate) that we have been shown has nothing to do with guns. Most of the criticisms I have seen about our march claim that we are liberal puppets and that our actions are not our own. Not only is this an insult to our intelligence and our ability to incite a political movement, but it is also completely false.
This march was called for by students, organized by students and carried out by students. I know this because I was one of those students. Have adults tried to influence our actions and take the wheel from us? Yes. The key word in that sentence is “tried.” Their attempts were unsuccessful.
I have learned to not trust anybody in politics, mainly because they all have an agenda and their own individual interests. This was especially true when we organized this march. Many people saw an opportunity to advance their agenda through us. They saw an opportunity, but we did not allow them to take it.
The trolls who call us puppets say we are all Tide Pod eaters or, more recently, condom snorters. Therefore, they argue, we cannot possibly have the mental capacity to create a political movement. Why would anybody listen to a bunch of Tide Pod-eating kids?
The fact that I even have to address this fallacy just shows how hard gun advocates have tried to change the subject from the actual issue of regulations on guns.
What these people do not understand is that the Tide Pod story has been exaggerated and sensationalized. I do not know anybody who has ever eaten a Tide Pod; the people I know see the whole thing as a joke. If you only know about my generation from the news that you watch or the articles that you read, then I understand why you might think that way. If you crawl out from under your rock and interact with us, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Only 86 people had intentionally eaten Tide Pods when the story went viral earlier this year. There are approximately 69 million people in Generation Z. That is about one-ten-thousandth of 1 percent of my generation. To say that we are all Tide-Pod-eaters is laughably untrue.
The fact that I even have to address this fallacy just shows how hard gun advocates have tried to change the subject from the actual issue of regulations on guns. Apparently it’s the only way they can think of to avoid facing the societal problem we are up against.
My generation will not forget the slander and hate that we have endured from some of our elders because we have taken action on an issue that they have failed us on.
I will note that while my team organized and carried out the march, volunteers from Moms Demand Action helped with parking and clean up. They also helped us get a podium. One of our member’s parents helped us set up a bank account with the money we raised. That is the extent of the help we received to conduct this protest. If that makes my team and me liberal puppets, so be it.
I know this won’t change the minds of anyone who disagrees iwth the Never Again movement and wants us to fail. But I wanted to set the record straight. If some people choose not to acknowledge the facts, that’s not my problem.
My generation will not forget the slander and hate that we have endured from some of our elders because we have taken action on an issue that they have failed us on. We are the future. They are the past.
Mr. Jacob is a senior in Dorchester District 2 and a member of Lowcountry Students for Political Action; contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at jacobthejournalist.blogspot.com.