President Obama reiterated his message that we have to put politics aside to prevent more tragedies like the Connecticut massacre. He said, “(W)e have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics.” Obama is using these words to lay the careful groundwork for a future policy shift.
Showing that there is indeed a time when Republicans will cease speaking, Speaker John Boehner declined to give a rebuttal to the President’s address this week. He said, “There will be no Weekly Republican Address this weekend so that President Obama can speak for the entire nation at this time of mourning. I join the president – and all Americans – in sending prayers and condolences to the victims’ loved ones.” I’d be touched if only Republicans weren’t bought and paid for by the NRA, and thus afraid to go on camera right now.
On Friday, we learned that more than two dozen people were killed when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Most of those who died were just young children with their whole lives ahead of them. And every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt.
Among the fallen were also teachers – men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
So our hearts are broken today. We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived. Because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child’s innocence has been torn away far too early.
As a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. An elementary school in Newtown. A shopping mall in Oregon. A house of worship in Wisconsin. A movie theater in Colorado. Countless street corners in places like Chicago and Philadelphia.
Any of these neighborhoods could be our own. So we have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics.
This weekend, Michelle and I are doing what I know every parent is doing – holding our children as close as we can and reminding them how much we love them.
There are families in Connecticut who can’t do that today. And they need all of us now. Because while nothing can take the place of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need – to remind them that we are there for them; that we are praying for them; and that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their own memories, but also in their community, and their country.
The President’s words “So we have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics,” suggest that while he’s not saying it right now, he is laying the groundwork for a policy shift to deal with these sorts of incidents.
I suspect he will approach this problem as he does most problems, from a pragmatic and all encompassing point of view. I’d use his drug policy shift to get an idea of how he will approach the issue. I hope to see a coalition of leaders from the mental health community, experts in cultural violence, economists who understand the impact of economic disparity on cultural violence, as well as experts in gun violence and gun safety, come together to have a real discussion on how to address this problem.
When we hear “put politics aside,” people usually interpret that to mean do not bring your beliefs to the table. The phrase is often used by NRA puppets/politicians to kill discussion by creating the false narrative that believing in gun control is “politicizing” a tragedy. Yet, polls show that gun owners (of which I am one) support common sense restrictions on gun ownership. If this is confusing, it may be because the NRA seems to represent gun manufacturers rather than gun owners. In a just world, gun owners would have a seat at the table, but bullies for profit would not.
If this unspeakable horror offers us anything, let it be the courage to finally say enough. Let it give our legislators the courage to finally look the NRA in the eye and say, “Back off, we are handling this.” In order for this to work, we the citizens have to be inoculated against the propaganda the NRA will dish out against those legislators and leaders who have the courage to say “Enough.”
It won’t come dressed as itself. Dark money never does.
Concerned citizens should make their voices heard, pressuring our lawmakers and leaders via letters, phone calls, protests, vigils, etc. President Obama has always said he believes that change should come from the will of the people. Let the President and your representatives know how you feel about this issue, and what kind of change you hope to see.
Change is coming. Obama doesn’t use words like this twice in a row without a purpose.