I catch myself wondering how long this one will last. In American politics, every hot button topic that will surely be the breaking point seems to have the lifespan of a few days, sometimes even a few hours. The reinvigoration of the gun violence debate seems to be a bit stronger than past occurrences. Perhaps one reason why that is is because we have a sympathetic, central figure in David Hogg to keep it all going.
Of course, no political movement is complete without collecting scalps, and currently, Laura Ingraham is the most recent scalp to be collected.
According to CNBC, Ingraham’s Fox News show, The Ingraham Angle, is losing advertisers. A lot. Why? Because she tweeted something critical of David Hogg.
Actually, it’s not even just that it’s critical. It comes off more as a mockery. After all, Hogg has become so deeply swept up into this movement sprung out of the Parkland shooting several weeks ago that he has become more like a caricature of a young revolutionary. He has the scowl, the eyes showing their righteous indignation, and even a salute. Why not mock him?
The reason why I would suggest that we should not mock David Hogg, or any of the more activist students, is not because I agree with them – in fact, I find not only their arguments to be severely flawed to flat-out wrong, but their smearing, disrespectful grandstanding to be abhorrent – but because these kids are being used by the media and well-funded activist groups as tools for an agenda. Not only that, but the exact moment any of these kids are not considered useful anymore, they will be tossed aside. When that happens, this tragedy that has left these kids grief stricken, confused, and angry will, I’m guessing, be met with a lot of apathy from the same people who are cranking the heat up as of now.
Does David Hogg deserve criticism? Yes, I think so. Sooner or later, he will have to learn the rules of public discourse: speak publicly, be called out publicly. His viewpoints deserve the same critique that anybody of any age would receive if they went public with those viewpoints, not to mention that his conduct has been horrible at times. That said, this kid needs a grief counselor, not a spotlight. He needs help overcoming this tragedy, not a revolution.
That’s not to say David Hogg is blameless. It is hard to take him seriously when he tells Laura Ingraham to “love thy neighbor” when he has spent weeks labeling politicians and supporters of the second amendment to be just as guilty as the shooter with blood on their hands. That’s some severe sensationalism, yes. When you see that, though, you have to wonder how much of that is coming from a mixture of grief from tragedy and way too much media attention and hype. Ingraham probably should have considered that and been a bit more careful in how she went about commenting. David Hogg is a lightning rod right now, and whether right or wrong in any criticisms he receives, mockery, even if it is merely suspected, will not fly over well.
I agree that Hogg needs to grow up. I also agree that Ingraham should have approached this more tactfully. At the end of the day, this is a kid who is confused, angry, and has a lot of political capital disguised as sympathy for him. Sure, that political capital will likely run dry eventually, as it always does, but in defending our rights and our causes, we need to remember that our opponents are people, too. They’re our fellow Americans.
Yes, we can have debates about the second amendment. Yes, we can discuss gun laws and what does or does not make such laws “sensible.” Debate is good. Empathy is also very good. Remember that we are always in a balancing act between fighting for what we believe in, and also being compassionate for our fellow man.
In the spirt of Good Friday, Passover, and Easter Sunday, as David Hogg suggested, love thy neighbor. Even if they don’t reciprocate. You never know whose heart may soften as a result.