Take a lesson from Stoneman-Douglas students

Dahlia Lithwick writes at Slate: We should all take a lesson from the Stoneman-Douglas students

1. Give Donald Trump Precisely 5 Percent of Your Mental Energy

They have no interest in talking to him or even about him. They have internalized the lesson that he is a symptom of the problem but unworthy of credit or blame. I suspect that if the rest of us ignored the president half as ably as they have, we’d all have vastly more emotional energy for the fights that really do matter.

2.   Don’t Waste Time Fighting People Who Don’t Share Your Values and Goals

The Stoneman Douglas students don’t seem to be wasting their time debating or negotiating with the gun lovers on the other side. They are simply working to get gun legislation passed, to raise awareness, and to energize other young people. As someone who has devoted the greater part of the past year to an intramural media debate about whether to give up completely on the other side or to strive to change hearts and minds, it’s refreshing to see that this doesn’t really matter.

3. They Don’t Seem Hellbent on Having Leaders

While a handful of students clearly took the helm in the immediate aftermath of the shooting—including Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, and Cameron Kasky—they have been joined in recent days by Alfonso Calderon, Sarah Chadwick, Jaclyn Corin, and others. Together, they rotate on and off the cable shows; they march on Tallahassee, Florida; and they seem utterly content sharing the spotlight.

4. They Expect to Win

The kids of Stoneman Douglas really don’t much care what this president thinks, or what the NRA thinks, or even what we in the media think. The central mistake we have made this past week is trying to understand how this vast army of eloquent, purposeful, and clear-eyed students has been all-but-invisible to us until now. The better lesson we can take from them is that, thankfully, we have been almost entirely invisible to them. They are unconstrained by our norms and unmoved by our plight, and not really all that interested in our corny media tropes about childhood, suffering, and power. Good for them. It’s about time.