Before getting into the main focus of this post, a disclaimer: I was raised in journalism to avoid all insults about teenagers. It’s a sound policy. You cover, for example, a high school football game. You never write “Johnny Jones stupidly fumbled the ball with the game on the line and cost Generic High School a glorious victory. What a loser!” Instead, you go basic “Nonspecific High School recovered a fumble with 20 seconds to go to secure a victory over Generic High School.”
A lot of people who should know better — including Laura Ingraham of Fox News — violated that simple mandate for decency by taunting the Florida high school shooting survivor with insulting tweets or social media posts. Debate is one thing. But the adult needs to remember who the adult is when debating a teenager. Ingraham should have been above doing such a thing, which is why she apologized. More on that later.
But Hogg is going to fail in his quest to create massive social change when it comes to the Second Amendment.
Hogg is the latest in a long line of pretenders to the throne that remains occupied by the memory of Rev. Martin Luther King when it comes to creating lasting social change.
I have spent the last few days researching where civil rights has gone since the 1970s. It’s true that society has changed and granted more civil rights in the last 50 years, but no single person has been a galvanizing force. If anything, most individuals with an axe to grind create a backlash even if the cause is just. Remember how Cindy Sheehan was going to inspire us to stop going to war? We’re still in the middle east.
What exactly have the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton accomplished?
I keep going through name after name of activists who undermined their causes.
True, after his passing, some have besmirched King’s memory. But how was he able to advance a cause and be simultaneously revered?
The answer, in my opinion, is that King took a Biblical lesson to heart — to love your enemies.
It takes superhuman inner strength to find a way to simultaneously stand your ground over what you know is right while loving people who believe you should be oppressed. In today’s hyperpartisan culture, it seems antithetical. Yet, King was able to do that. More importantly, his flock followed his lead.
And millions benefitted from persistence that was based on love. Sheehan couldn’t do that. Sharpton doesn’t want to. Remember the people who ended friendships over President Trump’s election? The middle fingers given from #TheResistance?
How can anyone believe the slogan “love trumps hate” when there doesn’t appear to be love from people asking for change?
Standing your ground based on love has the capability to change hearts and minds.
Take a look at the reaction of activists in the wake of the Parkland shooting. We’ve seen thousands boo, jeer and vent fury at a U.S. Senator who offered to listen and help. We’ve seen children claim that adults have ruined democracy. At the center of it all is a 17-year-old who I’ve never met, and who I have yet to see express love for anything.
I don’t know if he’s a bad guy. He apparently has a little trouble getting into the college of his choice, but so did I. Can’t fault him for that.
But I know that in order to change gun laws, you have to convince legions of gun owners that it has to stop.
You don’t do it by telling them they are responsible for your friends’ deaths. You don’t do it by raising a fist in the air.
If you have any chance to do it at all, you start from a place of loving your political enemy.
Hogg could have, for example, loved himself and Ingraham enough to say, “You went over the line, but I accept your apology.” That’s what a mature person does. Instead, he called for a boycott of the her show’s advertisers, which people correctly saw as silencing political thought.
Now, Hogg and by extension his movement faces a backlash. I’m looking at an online survey from a pop culture site that calls the kid “arrogant.” TMZ, while trivial, is left-wing.
Kid, no disrespect intended. You have a long life ahead of you and you went through some real mess. I hope you find inner peace and a good college. But take it from someone who also had a big ideas and an even bigger mouth when I was your age: Find a way to love your enemy, or you will fail.