To say I had the week from hell last week would be an understatement. I was all set to share my tales of woe and then thought, after what the students, parents and teachers went through recently in Parkland, Florida, who gives a toss.
My problems, regardless of how big or small I perceived them to be, are inconsequential by comparison. No one died, no one was slaughtered for no reason. It’s important
to put things into perspective.
I continue to be amazed, impressed and in awe of those students, their parents and the parents of the poor souls who didn’t make it. Their courage, their dignity, their sense of purpose and desire to make a positive difference in this world gives me goosebumps, fills me with joy and hope, humbles me, inspires me and leaves me in tears when I hear them share their experiences and renew their promise to keep fighting for change.
Don’t know if you watched the CNN Town Hall, where many of the students and some of the victims’ parents had a chance to confront politicians and a spokesperson for the NRA. All I can say is “wow!”
There were so many moments that were powerful and moving but to my dying day I will remember and admire the student who asked Marco Rubio if he would now stop taking campaign contributions from the NRA.
He asked over and over again, putting Rubio on the spot, who was forced to admit he would — by finally and grudgingly acknowledging that he accepts contributions from those who support his agenda — for which he was boo’d, understandably so.
To his credit, though, he showed up. I have never been a fan of his, but it took balls for him to do that — which is more than I can say for Governor Rick Scott, who is a deplorable coward and deserves to be tossed out of office.
Senator Rubio not only showed up, he never interrupted and respectfully allowed the students and parents to ask their questions, no matter how pointed and tough they were. While a lot of his answers sounded like campaign speeches, he took the heat time and time again, and admitted he was re-thinking some of his positions on gun control legislation. Got to give him some points for that.
What’s really exciting, though, is that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students’ movement is catching on and gathering momentum. Ellen DeGeneres had them on her show. Bette Midler took on Congress directly. Chelsea Handler and countless other celebrities, athletes and models rallied for gun control.
George and Amal Clooney pledged $500,000 in support of the student gun reform March on March 24 — and they have said they will be at the March, in a show of solidarity.
Their donation was matched by Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Spielberg and his wife and Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife — who have also said they’re going to the March. The philanthropist and businessman, Eli Broad, pledged $1 million and Tom Steyer, the billionaire investor who’s spending millions and millions of his own dollars on an “Impeach Trump” advertising campaign is working with gun safety groups and has pledged $1 million to go toward an effort to register high schoolers to vote.
Bravo to all of them.
We’ve gotten used to celebrities and the uber wealthy getting involved and putting their money, their voices and their power to use for the common good.
But here’s a 16-year old no one outside of his community knew two weeks ago — a 16-year old the world is now going to know, if they don’t already — a 16-year old none of us are likely to forget. His name is Alfonso Calderon and he’s a Junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He was interviewed by CNN’s Don Lemon right after the Town Hall. The interview is about seven minutes long. You simply MUST watch all of it. You simply must. Promise me.
You owe it to yourself, you owe it to him; and mostly, you owe it to all victims of gun violence. Here’s the link.
Trust me, you’ll thank me.