TIME magazine released their annual list of the 100 most influential people today, and while there were numerous curious choices, others were spot-on. In a move that is sure to infuriate frothing conservatives nationwide, TIME included the Parkland shooting survivors advocating for gun reform on their list.
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Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, and Alex Wind were listed together with their blurb written by none other than former President Barack Obama.
Obama begins his tribute to the students by pointing out the nauseating cycle America has developed in recent years when it comes to dealing with mass shootings.
“America’s response to mass shootings has long followed a predictable pattern. We mourn. Offer thoughts and prayers. Speculate about the motives. And then—even as no developed country endures a homicide rate like ours, a difference explained largely by pervasive accessibility to guns; even as the majority of gun owners support commonsense reforms—the political debate spirals into acrimony and paralysis,” he writes.
Unfortunately, Obama’s words are all too true. The United States has long collectively ignored its gun problem, with any meaningful legislation to decrease gun violence sandbagged by Republicans to appease their NRA donor overlords. Luckily, spearheaded by the Parkland survivors, a movement is building to finally implement changes and save lives. And President Obama agrees.
“This time, something different is happening. This time, our children are calling us to account.”
“The Parkland, Fla., students don’t have the kind of lobbyists or big budgets for attack ads that their opponents do. Most of them can’t even vote yet.”
“But they have the power so often inherent in youth: to see the world anew; to reject the old constraints, outdated conventions and cowardice too often dressed up as wisdom.”
“The power to insist that America can be better,” he writes.
President Obama nailed how many Americans feel. There is a sense that something is different this time, that there is a real momentum building for once. Obama goes on to praise the students for their courage and fortitude in the face of Republican backlash and powerful, well-funded pro-gun lobbies. He sees in them the strength and determination that makes this country what it is.
“Our history is defined by the youthful push to make America more just, more compassionate, more equal under the law. This generation—of Parkland, of Dreamers, of Black Lives Matter—embraces that duty. If they make their elders uncomfortable, that’s how it should be. Our kids now show us what we’ve told them America is all about, even if we haven’t always believed it ourselves: that our future isn’t written for us, but by us,” Obama concludes.
Several of the students took to Twitter to thank the former president.
Thanks, Obama. https://t.co/ydeXa3TFhg
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) April 19, 2018
— Jaclyn Corin (@JaclynCorin) April 19, 2018
— Alex Wind (@al3xw1nd) April 19, 2018
Hopefully, Obama’s hopeful predictions play out and these students accomplish what they’ve set out to do. No longer can this nation accept the deaths of innocent children as the “price of freedom.” Change is long overdue.
Read the full essay here.