Jay Meehan: Keeping the momentum with #NeverAgain protests is easier said than done
“Come senators, congressmen, Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway, Don’t block up the hall”
~ Bob Dylan
You can see it in their faces, especially among those new to the physicality of democracy. No doubt about it. It’s the high one gets when, in the company of equally perturbed peers, they march in protest against the powers that be.
It’s about drugs. It’s about a compound present in the body wearing its neurotransmitter hat. It’s about a pleasurable chemical imbalance and the absence thereof. It’s about reward-motivated behavior. What it is, is a dopamine rush!
And they don’t need no stinkin’ badges or, for that matter, a concealed weapon permit. Quite the antithesis, actually, if their behavior related to participation in the recent nationwide “March For Our Lives” demonstrations which targeted additional controls over gun purchases.
It seems to matter not whether they’re sporting glowers or smiles, these newborn dissenters against the system. They all appear, excuse the expression, “bulletproof.” But we know that’s not true. Any number of them could be slaughtered tomorrow.
However, their gaze is fearless, even challenging. “Bring it on,” they seem to say. “We are not our parents. Inaction on your part will not wear us down.”
Well, don’t count your chickens. Those on the “right” possess innumerable distractions that would immediately take the country’s mind off your movement, one of which is unmentionable. Our president is on the cusp of doing whatever it takes to cause the good ol’ USA to rally around his tattered presidency.
Time will tell. Will the youth at the barricades be able to maintain their purposeful anger long enough to actually remove those in Congress who exist in the pockets of the NRA? Reportedly, many of them did take the time to pre-register to vote in the 2018 midterms. Certainly, that’s a good thing.
No doubt the digital propaganda machines of the Russians and the American “Right” will be well lubricated and ready to roll against them as time nears. The gun lobby has bottomless pockets and political clout, so those demanding action against sales of assault rifles had best bring their lunch.
Participation in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam and for Civil Rights during the ‘60s were also quite stimulating on a variety of levels, increased neurotransmitter activity included. Changes were incremental at best, however, and they came at a snail’s pace.
It’s much easier to never forget those who were gunned down and never forgive those whose rape of the 2nd Amendment lent support to the weapon acquisitions involved, than to rage against the machine hard enough and long enough to actually create change.
This is not an attempt to define this most recent anti-gun movement triggered by the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida as being just one among many. As the marches proved conclusively, this one has the ring of not only solidarity, but also singularity.
You were beautiful out there, all of you, including those from older generations who joined in to swell the numbers and punctuate the message. But again, having been schooled by consistent disappointment, I must offer a caveat. Get ‘em in the 2018 midterms or the odds against success will increase exponentially. They are patient, and for whatever reason, they also truly believe that it is they who hold the moral high ground.
So, make getting out the youth vote more important than anything else you do. Continually make your point. Create a scene if you have to. And don’t forget, now is the time. Keep your eye on the prize. Start a victory streak. Get on a roll.
There will always be issues worthy of mass protest. And you grownups, now’s your chance to be on the winning side for a change.
Although, admittedly, it’s easier said than done, stand up for your brothers and sisters who keep the faith, while at the same time, learn the art and practice of non-violence. The times are calling you. Be LOUD and VOTE!
Here’s another Dylan lyric that I think I’ll send out to Emma Gonzalez and her 6-minutes and 20 seconds: “She never stumbles, she’s got no place to fall/She’s nobody’s child, the Law can’t touch her at all.”
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
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