I promised a 10 day check in on that post about passing some common sense gun laws after the massacre in Orlando. Yes, it’s been 14 days. As it has been for most of this year, I wrote then I got an attack of the “Who do you think you are” virus. Right now, I’m forcing myself to write so that voice will be drowned out by the sound of a keyboard clickety clacking.
Two weeks later, I’m still mad, but I feel better because I’m doing some small things to make my opinion clear on common sense gun regulations.
An Old Cheer
My school did a cheer that went something like this:
Lean to the left…
Lean to the right…
FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!
Those words came back to me over the last two weeks when I saw what people are starting to do to curb gun violence.
Stand Up: The Democratic Filibuster
Senator Chris Murphy really got things going for me when he began a filibuster on the floor of the Senate to call for a bill on closing the loophole that allows people on the terrorist “no fly” list to buy a gun. For almost fifteen hours, he held the floor and used the platform to tell the stories of his district and the horrors unleashed there at Sandy Hook Elementary School. All evening, I watched with pride for the elegant democratic process in my country as senators offered questions and statements in support. A filibuster is a clever thing when used to deliver actual content, not to run out the clock with Green Eggs and Ham.
Like thousands of other citizens, I called my representatives to make it clear that I was in support of common sense gun regulations. I added that I want the CDC to be allowed to research gun violence as a public health crisis (they haven’t received funding for that in decades).
The filibuster worked…kind of. Senate Republicans agreed to hear four bills. Of the four bills that were put up for vote, none passed. Voting went straight down party lines.
From the filibuster, I learned that we need to be paying just as much attention to the “other” elections in 2016 as we are to the presidential election. When you look at the graphic below, remember that these are direct donations–the numbers don’t include advertising dollars spent by the NRA in favor of a candidate or against a candidate’s opponent.
Sit Down: #GoodTrouble
Sometimes you have to put yourself in the way to get noticed. I was downright tickled when Georgia’s own Representative John Lewis showed the House how it’s done. As a young activist, Lewis organized sit-ins in Nashville to protest segregated lunch counters.
Again, they asked for a VOTE. The majority party sets the legislative agenda in each house of our Congress. In a Republican controlled government, all they have to do is say “No.” No vote will be taken, no bill will be discussed, no law will be passed. No. No. No. There’s time for 60+ unsuccessful votes to repeal Obamacare, but no time to debate gun legislation.
I called and I emailed and I donated. I got G to call as well. Even John Lewis couldn’t get them to bring a bill to the floor. But he sure as hell raised the question, and I’m sure he and other representatives will continue to raise the question.
And wasn’t it lovely to watch a flummoxed Paul Ryan try to stop the story by turning off the cameras? Thank you, Facebook Live and Periscope for reminding him of the importance of transparency in democracy!
Fight, Fight, Fight: What’s Left to Do?
Fourteen days and nothing has changed. Except me. I have changed. I feel more involved, simply by paying attention. The outrage wave rolls on to new worries. Istanbul, West Virginia, Rio, Brexit. The funerals in Orlando are over. What will we do while we wait for the next massacre? Does anyone think it won’t come?
Raise your voice. Get informed then share what you know. Vote with your ballot, your dollar, your hours.
Whether you lean to the left, or lean to the right–stand up, sit down…fight, fight, fight.