In yesterday’s New York Times, regular op-ed contributor David Brooks heaped effusive praise on last Saturday’s March for Our Lives. Brooks wrote:
I have to say, I loved the gun-control march I observed last Saturday in Washington. The crowd was good-hearted, gracious, diverse and welcoming… Everybody kept underlining their faith in our democratic system, that voting is the way to make change…Of course some of the student speakers were grandiose and pretentious. Most of us were like that when we were 18.
Brooks is sometimes described as ‘the liberals’ favorite conservative,” perhaps because of his erudition and seeming reasonableness. In truth, Brooks has invariably condemned political activism while remaining oblivious to structural and class realities in this country. What this pompous moralizer and the Democratic establishment share is fear that this youth-led, increasingly inclusive protest movement can’t be cooped and contained by “vote, vote, vote” mantras, working within the two-party status quo or bought off with free food. They already see students of color standing in solidarity with Parkland while simultaneously linking that shooting with systemic violence in Chicago, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
If, as promised, their courageous campaign continues, it will quickly encounter the system’s recalcitrant resistance to any serious changes. And if a critical mass of students begins seeing the connections among violence, racism, injustice,…