The Florida senator is a talented politician, but he fulfilled his match in a 17 -year-old who called him out over NRA cash
Marco Rubio is a very talented politician. He walked into an arena full of 7, 000 Floridians who were determined to heckle him for siding with the National Rifle Association( NRA) for his entire career.
But within minutes of talking, he earned some respect. He didn’t stop the heckling, but he did his very best impression of a sincere man who frankly wanted to keep children safe, if merely there weren’t so many complications to this whole lawmaking thing.
There are apparently lots of firearms, and lots of loopholes. How on globe can a little law tackle such a great problem?
He offered up some token concessions that would do not very much at all to stop the murders: raising the age you could buy an assault weapon, but not banning them. Better background checks, but not universal ones. Stopping the sale of bump stocks, which played no part in the bloodshed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.
With ample charm and empathy, he nearly got away with it. Until he met a 17 -year-old student who was just as talented as him: Cameron Kasky, who survived the shooting by huddling with two brothers in a classroom.
Kasky strolled up to Rubio and shook his hand, along with the hands of the other politicians on stage: Florida senator Bill Nelson and his local congressman, Ted Deutch, both Democrats. He asked his friend to stand up and be acknowledged for signing up to serve in the military. And he asked the crowd not to boo Republican and cheer Democrats. Like Rubio, he believed the nation needed to come together.” Anyone who is willing to change is someone we need on our side ,” he declared.
Then the student closed in.” So, Senator Rubio ,” he said casually,” can you tell me you won’t be accepting a single penny from the NRA ?”
The crowd cheered like it was a slam dunkfest.
” People buy into my agenda ,” insisted Rubio, ignoring the public disgust with buying and selling politics.
” So you won’t take more NRA money ?” Kasky pressed on.
” That’s the wrong way to look at it ,” Rubio said.” People buy into my agenda .”
” In the name of the 17 people who died, you can’t ask the NRA to keep their fund ?” Kasky asked in disbelief.” I bet we can get people to give you precisely as much fund .”
Rubio told Kasky he was right: there was fund on both sides of politics. But that wasn’t the question, and his answer was as irrelevant as his favorite playlist.
It was a day for excessive sympathy and insufficient concessions. There were so many fine words of encouragement for all those feisty teenagers, and so many unhappiness for the grieving families. It was a long-winded way of sending thoughts and prayers; the modern-day version of paying for tears at a Victorian funeral.
You know the ground is changing when the NRA and its -Aplus-rated politicians feel the need to show up to a CNN town hall where they know they will be the targets of abuse for a grieving community.
But they also think they can ride this thing out with lots of talk about stopping insane people, rather than stopping the semi-automatics.
It’s just so darn hard to do what every other country has done to stop these mass shootings.
It took a sheriff in uniform to call out the NRA’s charade. When Dana Loesch, the NRA’s media-hating spokesperson had empathized her heart out, Broward County sheriff Scott Israel defined her straight.
” You just told this group of people you’re standing up for them ,” he said.” You are not standing up for them until you say you want less weapons .”
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