Swanson: Marco Rubio Should be Applauded for Attending the CNN Town Hall


By Gavin Swanson, Opinion Writer

On February 22, Senator Marco Rubio joined Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Ted Deutch, Sheriff Scott Israel and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch in a CNN moderated town hall debate with teachers and parents of Stoneman Douglas High School along with survivor students on gun rights in America. This was an incredibly brave move on part of all panelists, but especially Rubio and Loesch who are both firm supporters of the second amendment and are paid by the National Rifle Association. This article is focused on Rubio, who was elected to office by the voters of Florida.

Rubio did not have to participate in this town hall. Considering his position, his relationship with the NRA and his past responses to school shootings it would have made sense to nearly anyone for Rubio to decline an appearance. However, Rubio did the right thing and, despite knowing he was going into a lion’s den where he would be challenged by nearly everyone in attendance, he went and faced the populace he was elected to represent in Congress. It was an admirable move for any politician, especially in today’s age where career politicians can stay in office by simply sticking to their partisan agenda and win the support of the voters of their party.

At the risk of lowering his approval rating and losing support from both sides of the aisle, Rubio faced the people and did a pretty respectable job while doing it. At the town hall, Rubio revealed that he disagrees with Trump on the idea of arming teachers, he’s open to the idea of raising the eligible age of buying a firearm and how many bullets a magazine can legally hold — all of which are considerable advances for the pro-gun control side.

However, when Rubio was asked and grilled about the donations he receives from the NRA, Rubio simply responded by saying that the voters buy into his agenda — simply saying he believes if people had a problem with his stance on guns or the money he gains from the NRA then the people would not vote for him and instead find a candidate more in line with their personal politics.

As a result, those on the right who want to double down on their rights to self-arm with the current liberty that they have used to criticize him for his concessions to the gun control debate. Those on the left who want stricter gun control continue to brush him off for his alliance with the NRA. Aside from your political stance and how you felt about what he said at the town hall, you need to encourage more elected officials to do what Rubio did on CNN. The fact of the matter is that despite not needing to, and despite the fact that it might have been better for his career if he didn’t, the man still showed up.

This is behavior we should always encourage from our politicians. When the heat gets turned up and when the people are angry, we should reward the officials who come back home and face it head on. It’s easy for a politician to be challenged and stay in Washington where they can be sure that they’ll be re-elected for doing so. So Democrat, Republican, pro-gun or not, we should applaud and thank Marco Rubio for jumping into the fire with his head held high. Hopefully we can praise this action to the point where other politicians will see it as an advantageous thing to do and solidify the bond between voter and representative a little bit more than the distant stretch it currently is now.