At a recent town hall meeting in Florida, students who survived the massacre at Parkland High School, along with their parents, asked U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio pointed questions about his position on gun control. One student queried Rubio, demanding to know if the senator could commit to never again accepting campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association. The question had to be repeated before a visibly shaken Sen. Rubio answered with the excuse that he has constituents who have the opposite opinion on this issue.
It’s understandable that public officials face a wide variety of preferences and biases over the numerous problems in their district, making it difficult to choose a stance acceptable to the majority. But I wish one of the students or their parents had followed up Rubio’s answer with another question: “So, senator, why do you choose to support the NRA, whose policies likely contributed to the Parkland carnage instead of protecting your constituents who have suffered greatly because of those policies”. The answer is obvious – money. The NRA has it and the students do not.
What they do have, however, is a movement, an agenda, and momentum that could lead to sweeping changes via the electoral process. These students have become our teachers, instructing adults to vote against any politician with a “B” or higher rating from the NRA; Rubio and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who also wants to be a U.S. senator, both have “A+” grades. Let’s all follow the teaching of these students, and soon-to-be voters, by electing candidates who value lives over money. The choice is clear.