We know that the Parkland High mass murders have, in their gruesome wake, left an activist mindset that has the potential to make a difference. Notably articulate students on the precipice of political leverage have been taking the initiative to make the case that common sense and the common good should trump the political babble and NRA obeisance that always kicks in after one of our mass tragedies.
We’ll know their impact is more than emotional transience if–or when–we start to see a noticeable uptick in young-adult voter registrations. The Gunshine State actually provides online registration at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.
Here in Hillsborough County, the Supervisor of Elections Office regularly visits high schools to conduct voter registration drives. Supervisor Craig Latimer’s office even uses Twitter to give students a heads up. “We work closely with all the high schools,” says Latimer. “We do see a good return on that. They know we’re coming.”
That obviously is no guarantee of registrations, let alone voting. But it does mean the system is pro-actively courting a demographic known for its flagrant under-voting.
If something meaningful is going to result from our most recent horrific mass shooting, it will arguably involve momentum initiated by those now coming of political age. Those for whom “that’s-the-way-the-system-works” is just unacceptable “BS” when it comes to a life-and-death bottom line.
We may also be seeing a reprise of sorts of what young civil rights activists did in another era–combating the forces of historical oppression. It has to start somewhere, because the assault weapon lunacy has to end sometime. There is precedent. And there is a do-the-right-thing-for-the-right-reason void.
Douglas High School student David Hogg–who’s an activist, not an actor–said it best. “I ask that this be a time of togetherness, and something that is going to be always remembered, not only as a terrible incident, but as a turning point in American history, where students speak up and speak out when the politicians won’t.”