Watching the news media for the last few weeks has been the usual exercise in hyperbolic excess. The Hysteria du Jour is the March For Our Lives!, where high-schoolers get to skip class and mill around emoting their existential terror that they will suffer an evil fate which is actually far less likely than getting struck by lightning on their way to McDonald’s.
The marching teens are eerily reminiscent of the equally vapid Women’s March! of 2017, where masses of clueless females took to the streets in fits of belated adolescent pique that their candidate had lost the election, which they symbolized, for some reason, by putting knitted genitals on their heads.
The most cursory of inquiries to individual Women’s March participants disclosed the utter absence of any unifying or even rational issue being protested. One was protesting “for dignity”. Another “against rich white males”. Yet another because her sign made her “feel empowered and bold”. One was there because all the “creative people” should get together and build an ark spaceship. Another thought nobody should be allowed to be president unless he had experience already being president (don’t try to go there, it burns).
Most of the Women’s March attendees, though, said they were there because they were Democrats - Progressives - Females who didn’t want a Republican - Conservative - Male president. That this is sort of disappointment is the flip-side of every election ever held in a democracy was, sadly, not on the intellectual horizon for any of these sages. Neither was the slightest explanation of how the election of Donald Trump threatened their equality. As one bewildered commentator put it, the Women’s March was “an emotional protest about things that have never happened”.
And, as it turns out, he was quite right: rather than infringe upon the rights of women, Trump’s policies have delivered the highest female employment numbers since 2000. Wages for women are rising for the first time since the Great Recession, with the ‘wage gap’ decreasing and real wage growth far broader for women than men. Trump authorized 200 million dollars to encourage women in math and science. His administration has an historic number of women in high policy and cabinet positions.
None of this reality, of course, convinces the Women’s March protesters that they are unlikely to be relegated to uterine slavery ala The Handmaid’s Tale at any moment: the protests continue against… something. “I don’t believe,” sniffs one intellectual giant in response to the employment data, “this administration is going to do anything good for women”. Reality be damned, I know what I believe!
As a female, the entire exercise makes me squirm.
The last thing women need is a bunch of paranoid, over-reactive, emotional basket cases shrieking on national television about non-existent threats to their birth control pills. Many of us vote on other issues: the economy, foreign policy, border security, regulatory relief, but not a mention is made by any interviewee, sign, or speaker about any of those substantive concerns.
Frankly, between the excessive focus on sex and the vagina suits, the Women’s March did more to reduce us to nothing more than our reproductive organs than any male sexist managed in the last 100 years. The Suffragettes must be turning in their graves, as their male counterparts whisper I-told-you-so's through the ether.
Which brings us to March For Our Lives!
Unfortunately, much like their role models in the Women's March, the most cursory interview with the protesting teens makes them unintentional poster children for keeping the voting age over 18. Maybe raising it to 21. They are really, really sincere. They are also, for the most part, really, really clueless.
Here’s an example. When discussing the demand to ban 'assault weapons', none of the teen marchers had the slightest clue what they wanted. “Do you know” they are asked, “what an assault weapon is?” The responses: “It’s like, um… I kind of do, but kind of don’t”. “No. But assault weapons, like, does that sound safe to you?” “It’s a gun… that like, can cause more deaths”.
Actually, that was a trick question, because there is no such thing as an “assault weapon”. The semi-automatic weapons with the scary black color and the intimidating cooling muzzles are technically and functionally no different from the cute little handgun a woman can put in her bedside stand, or the polished wood-stock hunting rifle granddad used to try for that buck every fall. They’re the same thing: semi-automatic. Unless we’re going to all sling wild west style revolvers like a bunch of latter day Wyatt Earp’s, there’s no ‘assault’ gun to ban.
But I digress.
Unfortunately, the ignorance continued. One genius was marching because “the same number of people die by assault weapons, as do car crashes in a given year”. Well, no. Actually, over 40,000 people in the US die in car crashes each year. All rifle deaths (including accidents)? 252. Not to upset the snowflake who pulled out this amazing statistical idiocy, but 40,000 does not = 252. Not even in California.
David Hogg, the media-created face of the teen movement, has been thrust into the spotlight to parrot the usual talking points on gun control from the left. He does well enough in the recitation and has some great Che-Rivera-wanna-be drama moves (you just know he was a drama-kid, right?). But one feels a bit sorry for the poor kid when he’s forced from his comfort zone into constitutional reality. Guns must be confiscated despite the 2nd Amendment, because of the overriding safety issues at his school. When asked, however, whether students should be required to use clear backpacks, he bridled in horror. No! The 1st Amendment would be violated. No safety is worth that horrific infringement upon teen privacy.
(Plus, David? It's the 4th. The 4th amendment is that whole "search and seizure" thing. The 1st would be the "freedom of speech, association, religion, assembly" stuff. But... oh, never mind.)
Ouch. A foolish consistency might be the hobgoblin of small minds, but a total lack of consistency is the hobgoblin of the child in way, way above his head. We need to ask him next what an assault rifle is.
It is extremely unpopular to criticize these well-intentioned but utterly clueless pawns; after all, they’ve been traumatized. But we can’t let teenagers, no matter how traumatized or how well-intentioned, create constitutional havoc through mass tantrum.
But here is one bright spot in all of this:
A recent Pew Poll found that around half of Americans favor stricter gun control, at least on some measures, like better background checks and mental health records. But 68% of Americans still oppose the repeal of the second amendment. However, young people – in the age range of the marchers – are more conservative than Americans as a whole, when it comes to gun ownership, especially when it comes to seeing a ban of ‘assault weapons’ as both unconstitutional and ineffective.
Huh. How about that?
As a female who has cringed for a full year over the antics of my gender, I feel for the intelligent teens being overlooked in the media frenzy. News memes refuse to recognize their existence, but in just a few short years, they’ll make that snub irrelevant as they begin to vote. And hey, at least their embarrassing marchers don’t wear those idiotic hats.