Liddick: March for Our Lives a misguided children’s crusade steered by the left (column)
April 2, 2018
In the spring of 1212 two young men, Nicholas of Cologne and Stephen of Cloyes, were convinced they could lead successful Crusades to recover the Holy Lands of the Middle East for Christendom. Their followers were largely children. Nicholas led his group through Switzerland to northern Italy, with more than two-thirds dying in route. Stephen and more than 30,000 followers wandered about France, ending up in Marseilles. Eventually, the movement petered out; most of the survivors made their way back home. Historians came to call this rather bizarre moment in prosperous, 13th-century Europe the "Children's Crusade."
For those who doubt the utility of history, one could do worse than compare contemporaneous accounts of that mass movement with those surrounding the crisis of the moment, the vacuous "March for Our Lives." Doing so, one might discover that cynical manipulation and opportunism are the hallmarks of politics in every age.
After weeks of adulation and fawning coverage of the Children's Crusade against the Second Amendment, also known as the "March for Our Lives," an enterprising journalist from the Washington Post named Dana Fisher did the unthinkable. She asked specific questions of the participants in the Washington, D.C. iteration of the "March," in an organized manner befitting her ongoing research into the "American Resistance." The answers will not comfort those who see in the current round of protests a resurrection of the glory days of the antiwar movement in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Although most of the media and our political classes have pushed forward the narrative that the "March" is a movement planned, organized, developed, lead and fueled by students primarily from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and other, like-minded young people, the truth is quite different. To begin with, only about 10 percent of the supposed "student" protesters were 18 years old or less. The average age of the rest of the crowd was just under 49. And 72 percent of them had a bachelor's degree or higher.
The group in Washington was 70 percent female; not quite as high as that of the "Women's March" in 2017, but still not reflective of any student demographic outside of an all-girls' high school. More than a quarter of them had never been to a protest before and — significantly — more than half of those reported being motivated by the nebulous issue of "peace." Forty-two percent were there to howl about the president. Only 12 percent said that they were in the "March" to call for stricter gun control. Not exactly a ringing cry of "semi-automatic rifles should be illegal!" Or any other similar idea one might imagine on a bumper sticker.
But the left should take heart: 79 percent of those interviewed self-identified as "left-leaning" and 80 percent reported voting for Hillary in 2016. All of which illuminates the reality of the "March for Our Lives:" far from being a spontaneous, student-led cri de coeur against the declining number of homicides committed each year with a rifle in the U.S., it is instead a repetition of the outburst of pique and mindless howl of "resist!" that was the 2017 "Women's March" against Donald Trump.
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Indeed, the "March for Our Lives" had major operational help from the "Women's March" organization through its "youth empowerment arm" and from "Moms Demand Action"/"Everytown for Gun Safety," which means the young frontmen for the protests are having their strings pulled by the likes of Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, George Soros and John Podesta — who in 2016 wrote memos about "capturing grassroots movements" to "change the narrative." Remember: never let a crisis go to waste.
Everywhere and always, voter registration is the target of these activities. That, not limitations on firearms, is the real goal of Washington's "March" and over 800 sister activities across the country. Democrats will, in short, use this and every other similar event from now until doomsday to increase the power and reach of their party — just as, 806 years previously, Phillip II of France used the child crusaders' piety although he was largely indifferent to their cause.
So, no. "March for Our Lives" is not a reprise of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley. It is not a return to the heady antiwar protests of yesteryear. It is instead a deliberate and manufactured sham; a misdirection and an appropriation for unintended purposes.
And in the end, when the goals of the erstwhile student "leaders" of this protest are not achieved — or even seriously attempted — what will be their response? They will have been used and discarded by their political masters when no longer useful; their recourse will be the same as that available to child crusaders in Marseilles and Genoa all those centuries ago: to go home, perhaps a bit wiser for having been used.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily News.
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