Marco Rubio Showed America that this is what Being an Elected Official is all About

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Marco Rubio Showed American That This is What Being an Elected Official is All About

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Put your political views aside for a minute.

In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that resulted in the deaths of 17 people, perpetrated by former student, Nikolas Cruz, with a semi-automatic AR-15, once again the debate over gun control rages on. The rhetoric was the same as always before with conservatives sending “thoughts and prayers” and liberals telling them to shove it. And not to diminish any mass shooting, but the push for gun control has never been more taut than is right now.

The school shooting survivors have been given a national platform to speak out against the atrocity they endured. Some of them have even become Twitter celebrities, like Emma Gonzalez, who at the time of this article has racked up nearly 650,000 followers since her impassionate post-tragedy speech. All of these students, despite most of them not being of age to vote yet, are pushing for gun-control reform. Most people are celebrating their voices, including politicians. President Trump pushed for the immediate ban of bump stocks, which is what was used in the Las Vegas Nevada concert shooting, allowing for semiautomatic weapons like the AR-15 to effectively become a fully automatic weapon. For others, however, their voices have fallen on deaf ears, like when the Florida state legislature rejected a ban on semiautomatic guns by a Republican-dominated vote of 36-71 in the wake of the tragedy. The Stoneman Douglas students gathered in the Capitol looked to be stunned by the result of that vote.

A civil discourse on this issue was necessary, which is why CNN hosted a two-hour Town Hall debate special exactly a week after the Parkland shooting that featured Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson and Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch, along with Republican Senator Marco Rubio to answer questions from distraught students, parents and teachers on gun-control policy.

One of the first things that happened after the Parkland massacre was a rundown of the NRA’s public donations for public officials. Rubio has a lifetime receipt of approximately $3.3 million. But, nevertheless, Rubio showed up to the contentious debate fully aware of the contempt survivors and victim’s families had for him in that moment. He didn’t shun away from the event and make up a scheduling excuse like Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott did. No, Rubio stood there and took the ridicule. He paid attention to every student and eloquently stated his rebuttal with certain issues. Agree with him or not, this is what an elected official owes all of us to do. Listen. Don’t refuse to show up because you know you’ll get ridiculed on your stances. Don’t send cease and desists to citizens who call your office to voice their opinions. You show everyone that you work for your constituents. And it certainly seemed like Rubio was coming around and even said he was “reconsidering” his position on specific issues.

Here were some of Rubio’s responses.

Rubio’s toughest moment was an ultimatum given to him by student survivor Cameron Kasky.

What Rubio did here – regardless of agreeing or disagreeing with his political views – is exactly what we should demand out of all of our elected officials. This is a Democracy after all, isn’t it?

~Robin O’Neill

2 COMMENTS

  1. I think Rubio’s doing the best he can, being stuck in a party that is becoming increasingly ineffectual and losing supporters in demographic chunks like sandstone cliffs in the face of an onslaught of nor’easters.

    He most recently spoke out against the curiously timed firing of McCabe. Good for him. I think he will be helpful to Florida’s efforts on gun control issues. I also think he would have a good chance of getting elected to any higher office in Florida if he could shed the Republican Party mantle. But, who knows…maybe he really does need that NRA money.

    • I had a lot of faith in Marco Rubio after watching the CNN Townhall Debate with the Parkland students, but now I’m not so sure anymore. It’s clear, as you said, that he does need that NRA money because there were issues that looked as though he was affected by that he didn’t back up in the coming weeks. Bump stocks are a no-brainer to ban, but is that enough? The March for Our Lives was nationwide (actually worldwide; there were many countries around the world who did the same) and politicians who support this unchecked NRA will be soon voted out of office. In the next year, those high school kids who held mass protests will not only be of age to vote, but they will outnumber baby boomers. This all seems like a means to an end. Thank you for your comment Diane.

      -Robin

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