February 23, 2018 By Michael Leppertwww.contrariana.comFrom behind a podium in Florida last week, Emma Gonzalez said plenty. Much of what she has said the last several days has been said before, sort of.Michael Leppert is a public and governmental affairs consultant in Indianapolis and writes his thoughts about politics, government and anything else that strikes him at Contrariana.com.A sample of her tone was directed toward our nation’s political class. She said to a mourning crowd, mocking the old guard “that us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that were too young to understand how the government works—we call B.S.!”I mourn the kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who died February 14. I love the ones who survived.I tend to agree with the survivors’ underlying message, which helps me be a fan, but that is secondary for purposes of this column. They are rattling cages. And it is refreshing to watch.There has been an abundance of protesting lately in America. The “resist” movement is getting people off of the coach who had grown far too comfortable there. Of course, I’m talking about old people when I say that. I can say “old” because I certainly qualify. And please don’t misunderstand me on this, I support activism in general and not just the brand with which I agree.This is a special moment I hope our nation does not overlook. Obviously, the catalyst for this movement was a catastrophe that hopefully does not recur. But part of the uniqueness of the moment is that the young people speaking out today are the actual victims of the catastrophe. I hope that part is never the case again.The other part is a belief that speaking up actually matters. That is the thing that the old people in this country need to help make sure remains true. Young people need to know that what they are saying is important. Not because it represents some cliché participation trophy, but because their perspective can help us old folks hear B.S. with fresh ears.That’s what these kids are giving us more than anything: fresh ears.David Hogg is one of Gonzalez’ classmates. He was a prominent target of conspiracy theorists who wanted the public to believe that these young people were actors. While we are discussing B.S., this is on top of the list. Hogg’s dad happens to be an FBI agent as if that matters.“I haven’t lost hope in America, and my dad hasn’t either,” is a sample of what this young man said. He is 17 years old. He has already taken more from the mysterious and cowardly opposition on gun issues than anyone should have to take. And he appears unphased by it. Stay strong, kid. We need you to stay strong.Perspective is the thing that is changing the conversation on gun violence this time.I have had some conversations with my guns rights friends these last few days. I am not friends with the NRA’s Dana Loesch and Wayne LaPierre. The people I have talked to are beginning to sound more reasonable than ever. My pals are making suggestions to me like, “be specific about the policy you want” and we might be able to agree. “Quit attacking the person who believes in gun ownership…” and maybe we can make a change together.I ask things like “how about investing in a background check system that is as important to you as social security numbers, citizenship records, or voter rolls?” Or “how about having the Centers for Disease Control do research on how to identify mass shooters before they kill?”These questions got me treated like David Hogg last year, but now 2nd Amendment lovers are actually thinking before they answer them.The conversation is changing. These young people are responsible for it.I hope all of this results in progress on America’s gun violence problem as much as anyone. But I also want to see the experience our nation is having, by listening to a new perspective, teach us a lesson that is broader. When the same group of people keeps having the same fruitless arguments over and over, sometimes the answer to the conflict is as simple as listening to someone with a different perspective.Gonzalez, Hogg and their friends are not really suggesting anything that hasn’t been suggested before. It’s just that it sounds so much more clear coming from them. They are suggesting solutions to us that are inspiring in their simplicity and familiarity.And their intentions are pure.So, kids, watch your mouths. Make sure whatever it is that comes out of them is as honest as everything you have said so far. The world is listening. If you keep doing this right, it just might become a habit.For all of us.FOOTNOTE: Michael Leppert is a public and governmental affairs consultant in Indianapolis and writes his thoughts about politics, government and anything else that strikes him at Contrariana.com.The City-County Observer posted this article without opinion, bias or editing.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
ARLINGTON, Minn. (Aug. 23) – Seventy-three-year-old Dwain Wilmes piloted his 95.7 IMCA Sprint Car to the checkers Saturday at Arlington Raceway to win his first-ever 305 RaceSaver event. Dalyn Cody took second and Dustin Sargent rounded out the top three in the green to checkered race. For the second consecutive week, Andy Timm of Mankato won the MN 93 IMCA Modified feature. Jeff Coon was the early leader but halfway through the race got too high and went off the top of the track. That gave the lead to Timm, who stayed in front the remainder of the race. Chad Porter challenged at the end but settled for second ahead of Coon and Dan Menk.Chet Ragan won his first feature ever in the Unhinged Pizza IMCA Northern SportMods, leading from the beginning to end after starting in the second row. Eric Larson was runner-up and third was Josh Larsen. Cory Probst made the trip worthwhile as he started 12th in the Eckblad Trucking IMCA Hobby feature and won for the first time ever at Arlington Raceway.Dan Mackenthun once again took the victory in the Annihilator IMCA Stock Cars. Matt Speckman moved through the field to challenge but settled for second ahead of Ken Tietz. Nate Coopman continues to be the driver to beat in the Coors Light IMCA Sport Compact division, winning yet another feature, this time in a 19 -car field. Joe Bunkofske took second and Kyren Porter took third.