The Lightning Strike

It’s time to vote for our lives

Young voters must make their voices heard at the ballot boxes

Stoneman+Douglas+student+and+survivor+Cameron+Kasky+addresses+Senator+Marco+Rubio%27s+acceptance+of+donations+from+the+National+Rifle+Association.+The+CNN+Town+Hall+was+hosted+on+Feb.+21+in+Sunrise%2C+FL.+
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It’s time to vote for our lives

Stoneman Douglas student and survivor Cameron Kasky addresses Senator Marco Rubio's acceptance of donations from the National Rifle Association. The CNN Town Hall was hosted on Feb. 21 in Sunrise, FL.

Stoneman Douglas student and survivor Cameron Kasky addresses Senator Marco Rubio's acceptance of donations from the National Rifle Association. The CNN Town Hall was hosted on Feb. 21 in Sunrise, FL.

Stoneman Douglas student and survivor Cameron Kasky addresses Senator Marco Rubio's acceptance of donations from the National Rifle Association. The CNN Town Hall was hosted on Feb. 21 in Sunrise, FL.

Stoneman Douglas student and survivor Cameron Kasky addresses Senator Marco Rubio's acceptance of donations from the National Rifle Association. The CNN Town Hall was hosted on Feb. 21 in Sunrise, FL.

Nathaniel Manor, Editor-In-Chief

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In the 2016 election, a mere 19 percent of millennials cast their votes. With the impending 2018 Midterm Elections in sight, the spotlight has turned to us to change what our government has failed to do.

After the tragic events of Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School, the nation has become engulfed in a fierce gun control debate, sparked by the outspoken survivors. While the Republican Party and the NRA are taking heat for their pro-gun stances, a new generation of political activists has emerged.

While the Millennial generation before us has been dubbed lazy and entitled, many don’t realize that we are the beginning of the newest generation—Gen Z. Although hotly debated, it’s commonly agreed upon that the last of the millennial generation was born in 1994.

Whatever we may be called, we are the pioneers of a new era of Americans and have the opportunity to define a century of change. On Feb. 20, less than a week after the shooting, Florida lawmakers in Tallahassee rejected a bill to ban assault rifles—in front of the faces of MSD survivors. Our representatives’ votes won’t change, but ours will.

For the first time in our lives, we have the ability to make our voices heard beyond the norm. Too often we see politicians discounting young voters out of anticipation they won’t vote. The abysmal rate of young voter turnout resulted in the election of Donald Trump. If we want tougher gun laws, increased security and viable solutions to mass shootings in the country, it is up to us to vote out those who count us out.

According to Politico, the NRA gave a whopping $5.9 million to Republicans and a mere $106,000 to Democrats in the 2016 election cycle. Parkland students challenged Senator Marco Rubio at CNN’s Town Hall for accepting such funding. Survivor Cameron Kasky plainly asked him, “Can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA?” But Rubio repeatedly dodged answering the question.

It is evident that the NRA is not backing down, nor will politicians stop accepting blood money in exchange for their vote to restrict guns. Yes, we need common-sense gun laws and yes, we need to reform the way our democracy is run; but no, nothing will change if we sit idly by. The power we hold to make it happen lies in our right to vote and protest.

Seniors, register to vote. Juniors and sophomores, pre-register to vote. Freshman, educate yourselves and prepare. Ignorance is no longer bliss in today’s society, as an educated public is a strong republic.

Make our politicians regret their decisions this November. Show them the strength of Generation Z — vote.

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It’s time to vote for our lives