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Wed Feb 21, 2018, 02:13 PM

Why the Parkland students have made pro-gun conservatives so mad [View all]

By Paul Waldman February 21 at 1:35 PM

The American right is officially terrified of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Those students, who rapidly turned themselves into activists and organizers after 17 of their fellow students and teachers were murdered in their school, have become the most visible face of this new phase of the gun debate, and conservatives are absolutely livid about it. As a consequence, they’re desperately arguing not just that the students are wrong in their suggestions for how gun policy should be changed, but that they shouldn’t be speaking at all and ought to be ignored.

There are two criticals reasons the right is having this reaction, one more obvious than the other. The plainer reason is that as people who were personally touched by gun violence and as young people — old enough to be informed and articulate but still children — the students make extremely sympathetic advocates, garnering attention and a respectful hearing for their views. The less obvious reason is that because of that status, the students take away the most critical tool conservatives use to win political arguments: the personal vilification of those who disagree with them.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying liberals don’t often vilify their opponents, too. But that technique lies at the absolute core of the right’s rhetoric, and you can tell by how they react when it gets taken away from them.

So right now, conservatives are engaged in a two-pronged attempt to take it back. On the more extreme side, you have the social media trolls, the conspiracy theorists, the more repugnant media figures, who are offering insane claims that the students are paid agents of dark forces, and can therefore be ignored. On the more allegedly mainstream side, you have radio and television hosts who are saying that the students are naďve and foolish, and should not by virtue of their victimhood be granted any special status — and can therefore be ignored.


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Reply Why the Parkland students have made pro-gun conservatives so mad [View all]
DonViejo Feb 2018 OP
Eliot Rosewater Feb 2018 #1
Demsrule86 Feb 2018 #11
rainin Feb 2018 #12
Bernardo de La Paz Feb 2018 #16
Cha Feb 2018 #22
gratuitous Feb 2018 #26
njhoneybadger Feb 2018 #28
G_j Feb 2018 #2
Guy Whitey Corngood Feb 2018 #3
Cha Feb 2018 #23
GusBob Feb 2018 #4
dewsgirl Feb 2018 #6
ffr Feb 2018 #9
Skittles Feb 2018 #21
bronxiteforever Feb 2018 #5
magicarpet Feb 2018 #7
liberalhistorian Feb 2018 #8
TNNurse Feb 2018 #10
Mc Mike Feb 2018 #13
ALBliberal Feb 2018 #24
Mc Mike Feb 2018 #25
ToxMarz Feb 2018 #14
ananda Feb 2018 #15
mgardener Feb 2018 #17
Sam McGee Feb 2018 #18
Pepsidog Feb 2018 #19
LastLiberal in PalmSprings Feb 2018 #20
appleannie1943 Feb 2018 #27