Volunteered As Tribute? Stop Pitting the Parkland Survivors Against Each Other

FILE - In this March 20, 2018, file photo, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky, center, reaches out to clasp hands with Jaclyn Corin, below left, while David Hogg, top left, and Alex Wind, right, applaud at the conclusion of a panel discussion about guns at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
FILE – In this March 20, 2018, file photo, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky, center, reaches out to clasp hands with Jaclyn Corin, below left, while David Hogg, top left, and Alex Wind, right, applaud at the conclusion of a panel discussion about guns at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

While I am certainly no fan of some of the antics of David Hogg and the other anti-gun Parkland survivors, I am increasingly concerned that my own side of the political spectrum has boosted Kyle Kashuv in much the same manner, almost as if the Parkland debate is a scale that must be balanced.

I have these concerns because Kashuv displays many of the too-good-to-be-true talking points of past child and barely adult icons, like C.J. Pearson and Tomi Lahren. The recent “CNN canceled my appearance because of my views!” blow up? The question no one on the right asked is “How many interviews has Kashuv been asked for, and how many of those has he turned down or backed out of?”

The answer to that question is more than you’d think.

I have been frequently critical of the use of children for political purposes. The grief of the Parkland survivors is being exploited by activist groups on both sides, and it won’t stop with these kids. However, the ultimate perversion of social movements and getting the youth involved is the constant cheering for verbal bloodsport.

Kashuv challenged one of his peers, Cameron Kasky, to a debate (I think he also challenged Hogg at some point, too see update below). Kasky originally agreed, then backed out. Fox News, among other outlets, decided that was worth a story.

A Parkland high school student who agreed to a live debate over his conflicting views over gun reform with fellow Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Kyle Kashuv has pulled out of the deal.

Cameron Kasky, an organizer of the pro-gun control March for Our Lives movement, tweeted Monday night that he won’t debate Kashuv, a pro-Second Amendment voice, following a tweet Kashuv seemingly disapproved of.

What was the tweet?

Kashuv apologized.

Now, many on the Right will say that Kasky is coward and backing out of the debate. In fact, many have. However, Kashuv did clearly cross a line. He’s just a kid. Kids post stupid things on Twitter all the time. The problem is that he (and Kasky and Hogg and the others) are being elevated by media on both sides of the aisle and they are doing what kids do: They strive for recognition.

That’s not to say their beliefs aren’t genuine. I believe they are honest in what they espouse, but some of them are responding to the crowds more than pushing debate forward. They are saying things that resonate with the frothing masses that have catapulted them to stardom.

Their feeds will sometimes transform into the same talking points you’ve heard and read for years. They aren’t advancing the conversation. They’re stagnating it.

It’s when we start openly cheering them on when they start bickering and arguing that we have reached a level of discourse that is barbaric. We are demanding kids fight each other in the public eye for our amusement.

And, why do we do this? Because they say the right things on Twitter. That’s just horrifying. It’s unhealthy for them. It’s unhealthy for us. It’s unhealthy for society.

UPDATE: People are also cheering for this one.

Please stop cheering this behavior on.