Updated: Aug 25, 2019
I had an entirely different blog post set for today but I was compelled to change the topic entirely given the recent events this past weekend. If you are unaware of the events that unfolded this weekend, I can summarize it rather quickly for you: two separate incidents of gun violence terrorized 2 separate communities, leaving nearly 30 dead and many more injured. Both perpetrators carried legally purchased assault rifles. Both perpetrators were young, white males. Both were likely radicalized by online sites that hosted manifestos and the like, demonizing diversity and immigrants. At least one directly linked his behavior to the rhetoric and noise around the current occupant in the White House, who has a documented history of making immigrants the "other" that is to be feared and - according to rally-goers in Florida just last week - shot.
Enough. I have already heard enough from the White House. The same White House that says there are fine people on both sides when white supremacists are shouting that "Jews will not replace us." I have heard enough from his supporters who say that his words are not to blame for the documented rise in hate crimes that take place in the wake of his rallies. I am waiting for anyone on the Republican side to admit that every country has violent video games, crazy people, domestic violence, less worship, and anger, and the ONLY distinguishing feature is that we allow weapons of war to be legally sold and carried in our country and that is why we have mass shootings. It is beyond infuriating and it is an insult to all of us who believe that our laws and our lawmakers are supposed to be part of the solution, not the problem.
Do something. Say something. Learn something. Change something.
Call your representatives, from local to state, the House of Representatives to the Senate. Ask them to explain their policies (past and future) related to reasonable gun legislation. Find out how much of their political voice comes from the modern-day terrorist organization also known as the NRA.
Tell Walmart to stop selling weapons of war. Stop shopping there until they do.
Become a single-issue voter. Refuse to vote for anyone who does not believe in common sense gun control. Make it clear that your vote is based on that issue alone.
Join an organization dedicated to changing our path forward. Moms Demand Action. Newtown Remembers. The Parkland youth leadership. There are many. Pick one that speaks to you. Donate. Call. March. Protest. Be loud and be visible.
Educate yourself. Stop pretending that terrorism only happens outside of our country or by people who are not American. Acknowledge the links between hateful rhetoric and violence. Call out those who seem ignorant to this link. Stop pretending that by watching others do something, change will happen.
Embrace your community and all of those who are part of it. Welcome others. Make it clear that you are a source of comfort and support. Show those who might disagree that diversity is our greatest strength. The minorities and immigrants in this country are tired of being demeaned, vilified, ignored or taken for granted. Prayers are fine, but pray for us to come together as a nation. Praying for legislation to pass actually doesn't work. We need action.
Vote him out. We deserve a leader who speaks to our better selves. We deserve a President that at a bare minimum, denounces white nationalism and refuses to employ those who believe in it, carry that torch or elevate their abhorrent rhetoric. We deserve a leader who knows that a bully pulpit does not actually mean he should bully. We deserve a President that has the capacity to show empathy, for even those of us who did not vote for him. We ought to have a President that acknowledges that we are a country of many - all faiths, colors, occupations and tendencies. None of this is political - this is human. And his leadership, or lack thereof, is nothing short of an insult.
Enough is enough. Disagree with this post or issue? Delete it. And duck for cover.