Leave it to a national tragedy like last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, to bring out not the best in people, but the worst. Among those seeking to turn the aftermath of the tragedy into something meaningful are the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who have organized support for common sense gun control in the wake of the atrocity.
Students leading the charge include David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez. The two of them have made a string of media appearances, including at the town hall CNN held soon after the tragedy to amplify the voices of those with a connection to it.
During the course of their time in the public eye, they’ve attracted their fair share of detractors. For instance, internet conspiracy theorists have claimed that the students, particularly Hogg, who have appeared on television, are just “crisis actors.”
Concurrent to those claims, one Republican candidate for the Maine state House referred to Gonzalez as a “skinhead lesbian” at one point — and he has now dropped out of the race.
Friday, that candidate — Leslie Gibson — commented:
‘I am not walking away with my head hung low. I am walking away with my head held high… It’s the best thing for everybody.’
After he made his comments about Gonzalez, two more candidates entered the previously uncontested race. Gibson claims to have consulted with one of those newcomers, Republican Thomas Martin Jr., before dropping out. The other newcomer to the race, Democrat Eryn Gilchrist, commented that she would have been “happy to partake in representative democracy by voting,” but felt “horrified and embarrassed” at the thought of someone like Gibson representing her.
Both Gilchrist and Martin entered the race on Thursday, the day after Parkland survivor David Hogg tweeted a call for someone to run against Gibson.
Hey freinds in Maine! Who wants to run against this hate loving politician he’s is running UNOPPOSED RUN AGAINST HIM I don’t care what party JUST DO IT. https://t.co/vRR7p1ZHKf
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) March 14, 2018
Hogg was another student to be faced with attacks from Gibson. The now former candidate for the Maine state House called him a “bald-faced liar.”
His initial comments about Gonzalez went as follows:
‘There is nothing about this skinhead lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you’re a frothing at the mouth moonbat.’
Trying to explain away the fact that he, as a candidate for public office, felt it appropriate to call an advocate for gun control a “skinhead lesbian,” Gibson offered an apology citing his career in the military that read, in part:
‘I am very passionate about protecting our constitutional rights from those who seek their elimination. It was not appropriate to single out the Parkland students, but I stand firm in my defense of our constitutional rights.’
There are plenty of veterans who — even if they believe differently from the Parkland students! — haven’t taken to lobbing insults like “skinhead lesbian” at them.
Of course, with his actions, he took after the leader of his party, Donald Trump, who regularly makes up incendiary nicknames for his political opponents.
The president has so far stayed away from coming up with nicknames for and/or using slurs against the Parkland students.
The Trump administration did, however, unveil a plan for school safety recently, which included the controversial step of directing government support for arming teachers to be boosted.
In the face of the Trump administration’s knuckle-dragging, students like Gonzalez and Hogg have continued their work, which culminated partly in this past Wednesday’s “National Walkout Day.” Students across the country left their classrooms for 17 minutes as a demonstration in support of common sense gun control.
Featured Image via Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images