Tonight I had dinner with my stepmother and talked about the lives of children.
We are living in the wake of a school shooting, in a time of school shootings, in a country who's adults have accepted school shootings as an unfortunate, unchangeable element of American life. It has not been long since the last. It's not long until the next. And since Newtown, the light of optimism has long since set on the possibility of even the most meager of reform efforts (which, we must admit, calls for universal background checks are entirely meager).
And yet, here we are, with the light of change rising again, not out of optimism, but out of necessity. The children are saying they are not safe under the current system. They are right. This culture that so fetishizes youth has proven itself unable to protect children, and while I am amazed by the bravery of these children, I am ashamed that the responsibility has fallen on high schoolers to teach politicians how to act like adults. These are children that have undergone an unspeakable trauma - now is their time for rest, for counseling, for time in silence, in confusion. For time to be kids who don't know how to make sense of this kind of tragedy. And yet they have taken this shooting as a mandate to take on the responsibility of change, out of desperation for their own lives.
I support the students who will not enter their high schools until they have been made safe. And I support the educators who take active steps to support their students' political expression (is this not a fundamental part of training students to be good citizens). Were this high-school boycott to take off across the country, I believe it could enact extraordinary change. How proud I would be to speak in fifty years of the high school protests of 2018, that happened across the US and pressured lawmakers to radically reshape gun laws in America.
To those who are protesting for their lives, my feeling is simple: shame that you must, and pride that you have, and continue to do so.