It’s been a little over a month since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the conversation about gun legislation, thankfully, continues to hold a place in the news cycle. This is in no small part due to the efforts of the survivors of the shooting who have made it their mission to regularly remind politicians that gun control is a life and death issue. This week, those teenage survivors received support from an unlikely source— Bill Murray, who dictated an op-ed for NBC News praising the Parkland students for their focused political activism and idealist views.
“I was thinking, looking at the kids in Parkland, Florida who have started these anti-gun protests, that it really was the students that began the end of the Vietnam War,” Murray wrote. “It was the students who made all the news, and that noise started, and then the movement wouldn’t stop. I think, maybe, this noise that those students in Florida are making—here, today—will do something of the same nature.”
The piece represents a rare political moment for Murray, who, over the years, has refrained from taking overt political stances. Most would assume that the comedian at least leans slightly to the left, especially considering he’s now golfing buddies with Barack Obama. But, like many men his age, Murray has said some vaguely questionable things about identity politics and personal responsibility, inspiring some to go as far as claim he’s a secret Republican.
But the overall message of Murray’s short opinion piece is not one of partisanship, but rather humanity, hope, and the incorruptibility of youth. He praises the ability of the Parkland students to “surround a deeply political issue like gun control” and “speak from a place that has no confusion.” In the end, though, he doesn’t want us to think that this important work is solely the responsibility of the students. “There are idealists left over the age of 18, I’m sure of it. Idealism is a voice that’s inside of you; it’s your conscience… Sometimes it’s just a whisper, but, in some people, it’s a shout.”
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