The kids are leading us. Let’s push the government to follow.

The kids are leading us. Let’s push the government to follow.

Real change has occurred in our past because of activism. We can and should become involved as citizens in getting the attention of our leaders.

HALIFAX — It was incredibly inspiring to hear that the young people who survived the latest mass shooting have called for and organized March for Our Lives, a national march on Washington, on Saturday, March 24.

It is the essence of America that these young people who are closest to the tragedy have the courage and presence of mind to lead our nation toward necessary change.

The rally's organizers estimate that up to 500,000 will attend. These young people, most not even old enough to vote, have answered a challenge put forth by John F. Kennedy at his inauguration: to “ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”

In the 1960s and 1970s, issues just as grave gripped the United States. The war in Vietnam and the civil rights movement unfolded before our eyes every night via Walter Cronkite and the network news broadcasts.

Our country's gun policy and the ongoing opiate crisis have left most of us feeling powerless. I am sure that millions of Americans would like to be at the march and have our voices heard.

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After the students called for the demonstration, they immediately learned that the National Mall in Washington would not be available on March 24 due to a school taping of what is described as a “talent show.”

The march is now taking place nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, but however important this talent show might be to these students' education, it would make sense for the secretary of the interior to make other arrangements.

President Trump could go even further and proclaim March 24 a National Day of Unity and Reflection. He should attend and require certain other members of our society to join him: all members of Congress and their families as well as all of our governors - the lawmakers responsible for part of the problem who are the same people we have elected to fix it.

It seems we don't have a lot in common with our leaders anymore. But we are all Americans, and we all have families.

This would be a great opportunity for our leaders - the people whom we entrusted with our future, one vote at a time - to feel the passion, resolve, and strength of our great people. We are not the special-interest groups whose large donations have enlarged their campaign war chests.

As they did with the protests of the '60s and '70s, the media as a collective whole could play a strong role in keeping our attention on these national issues. The media is a business and has made money off reporting these tragedies.

It would be appropriate if the media did something positive on March 24 and broadcast the event on as many channels as possible. A day free of advertising and profit would be a wonderful gift from the media to the American people.

Our children and grandchildren have to feel safe going to school. These events surely traumatized all who were there and those who have seen the story on the news.

Our gun-control policy is a very large and often angry issue on either side. I have serious doubts as to whether, if these assault weapons and high-powered handguns had been available when the Constitution was written, there ever would have been a Second Amendment. I believe the spirit of the amendment was to allow farmers a way to hunt and the option to call up a militia of the sort that served us so well in the Revolution.

Our young students have enough concerns about education that we will need to help support them to allow them to achieve the American dream. All of us want to be able to go to a concert, go to church, or work, or a shopping mall and be safe.

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This march will get attention and certainly begin a national debate. Those of us who can't attend but want to get involved can do so.

Everyone with a phone and email can put their representatives on speed dial and immediately began an electronic march on Washington. Begin by calling and or emailing the White House to request President Trump make the Mall available. Then, make one call a day to the House and Senate members you have elected. Request their presence at the demonstration.

Real change has occurred in our past because of activism. We can and should become involved as citizens in getting the attention of our leaders.

If we voice our concerns and see no signs that our legislators are responding, we should keep calling and emailing.

As with the protests that helped end the Vietnam conflict and those that helped the Civil Rights movement progress, nothing happens overnight. Sustained protests led to change.

If we keep it up until we see positive changes, we will eventually get results. Our past has shown this to be true.

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America is still - despite our problems - the greatest country in the world. But we are quickly becoming a nation scarred by the consequences of failed policies. Whether its the crisis of these ongoing mass murders or the opiate epidemic that takes 120 lives a day, no one can say whether our efforts to address either are working well - or working at all.

With both issues, the time has come for America to have a discussion about how to think outside the box. We have always been known for our ingenuity. We must show our leaders and the world that we still have that quality.

Our promise has always been our youth and the hope that every generation will improve our society.

The young survivors of this latest tragedy are leading all of us to necessary change. It would be wonderful if we thanked them by helping to get our leaders to make their world. and ours. a better place.

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