It was partly partisan politics that drove protesters and counterprotesters in the global “March for Our Lives” on Saturday. Many who traveled to Washington or their town squares demanded action on school safety, gun control and more.
But to Washington lawmakers, of both parties and on either side of the gun issue, who just managed to pass a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill to keep the government running that same week and may not pass any other major legislation for the rest of the year, it was a rebuke.
From their cogent and moving speeches, to the diverse coalition that covered not just the issue of school shootings but also the everyday violence that threatens young people in cities, suburbs and rural areas, to the support offered to kids overwhelmed and momentarily cowed by the spotlight, all of it modeled leadership that so many Americans have been missing.
Sure, political groups and celebrities and others stepped up with moral and economic support; but they also stepped back as young people demanded and took the lead. The day felt more like a beginning than an ending, and offered solutions, both aspirational and practical.