Monday, January 11, 2016

Mr. Obama's Shining Moment


Is it possible to have a gentle conversation about politics? The truth is, I don't usually wax political on my blog. If you know me and/or my blogging style at all by now, you know I'm not really confined to a small niche. More like faith, motherhood, and miscellany, Rinse, repeat. :-)  With that in mind, today, I'm going to branch out a bit, as I did a couple of months ago, and talk about what I see happening in politics and the media.

Last week, Obama had a shining moment, I think. With tears, he confronted the problem that has pervaded his Presidency: he acted to overhaul gun laws. For years, we’ve heard the news. Over and over and over again. Another mass shooting. Another deranged teenager opening fire on the innocent. Ultimately, we need to think back, and we need to be circumspect. However, we also need to examine the ultimate motives of the Presidency, without getting carried away by our feelings or the sway we feel at moments like these, that I would argue are the pinnacle moments of Mr. Obama’s presidency.

Let’s Think Back.

In 2012, first graders were shot to death by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This was not at an artillery center or a shooting range. It was at school. In a little town in Connecticut. All of their little walls of safety were violated by an arrogant, misled and possibly deranged kid.

Just before Christmas, in 2015, another kid- Zaevion Dobson- did something different: in Knoxville, he gave his life by jumping in the way of two girls being shot by a gunman.

In perhaps the most historic moment in his Presidency, Obama spoke these beautiful words:

“And Zaevion,who was in high school, hadn’t even gotten started in life, dove on top of… girls to shield them from the bullets. And he was shot in the head, and the girls were spared. He gave his life to save theirs, an act of heroism a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15-year-old. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Then he said words about as beautiful as anything any President has ever said:

…We’re not asked to have shoulders that big, a heart that strong, reactions that quick. I’m not asking people to have that same level of courage or sacrifice or love… but we should do more.. if we do, we’ll leave behind a nation that’s stronger than the one we inherited and worthy of the sacrifice of a young man like Zaevion.”

Let’s Wake Up.

Mass shootings happen mostly out of stupidity and ignorance. If we take into account the sacrifice of young Zaevion, and also all of the cases that go unreported (I think of a boy I knew in High School, whose funeral I attended, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound), we’ll stop being stupid and tighten up the restrictions in a common sense manner.

A few years ago, a friend told me a story. This happened in the tri-cities area, in Tennessee, and it truly disturbed me.

Her husband’s brother suffered from mental illness (I’m not sure if it was anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, some combination thereof, or something else), but her father-in-law kept guns in the house, unlocked.  They were not in a safe; they were not even hidden somewhere out of reach. He had put them within reach. When my friend, his daughter-in-law, came to his house with her children, she noticed these guns and had to confront her father-in-law for his mistake of misplacing some {loaded} guns.

Not only was it proposing a threat to her toddlers’ lives, he was proposing a threat to his own grown son, who was mentally unstable. Judging from my own personal experience and based on the statistics, if a suicidal person doesn’t have easy access to a gun, he is 100% less likely to commit suicide. (I honestly don’t know the real statistics, but I’m making a guess here. ;)

Obama’s statements on his desire to tighten gun laws actually makes sense to me, and his desire to further protect the American people is not misguided. He’s not lying or manufacturing those feelings. He really did care about the children at Sandy Hook Elementary, and I believe the emotions he displayed were not mere show; they were real. Tightening the laws, I think, is a great move. It is, simply, common sense.

Let's Stop Singing An Overplayed Song.

The news about mass shootings and gunmen who randomly open fire is getting old. The Republican party has a mantra, but it is, like an overplayed song, getting old, too. We are annoying troop, that needs to learn how to listen. We need to learn how to hear the facts and apply them. We need to stop settling for too few facts:

When a person dies - gives his life, especially- you have to take notice. Think of his parents, now.

We say over, and over, and over again without any bending, without any change in our approach. Even when more light is shed on an issue, we do not take the information into account. We are repetitive, almost and even slovenly.

“Do not compromise the 2nd amendment,” we say.
Over and over again.
Ad infinitum.

Yes, that’s right. We should seek to protect the Constitution. And yes, it’s also right to put the gun problem into perspective by remembering the terrorism issue.  The broken record on the other side is the need for more laws, constantly. Let’s have a circumspect approach, rather than seeing Obama and these issues in black and white.

But the gun problem is not a fleeting fancy.  It is real.

It is horrific, it is sad, and it is a problem.

If we remain ignorant and arrogant, it will continue to be just as bad of a problem. Tightening the laws, as he has sought to do, is a very good thing. Like my friend whose father had guns at easy access to toddlers and the mentally ill, we need to stop being stupid and do something to stop the ignorance and the violence happening ad nauseum in our country!

Obama pointed to a real and actual example. The children- 1st graders- who died at Sandy Hook Elementary school.  It was worth crying about. I cannot imagine something like that happening to my children. I can't imagine how violated countless Americans feel who have been touched by an experience like this.  He’s a great leader, on many levels, I think.

But let’s apply all of these “problems” with Republicans to Obama.

Obama, Let's Wake Up!

About abortion, he says over and over again a woman has a right to choose. Without bending, without any change in his approach. Even when more light is shed on the issue, he does not take the information into account.

He is repetitive, almost, and even slovenly.

A few years ago, I had a conversation with my sister, and she said, “Who else can I vote for? He’s the man for the job.” In many ways, I think she has a good point. Perhaps despite all of the things I disagree with about his political cohorts and the things he has done incorrectly, the general trajectory of his Presidency could yet be one for the books. He cares about the poor, education, and despite all of my reservations, he has, in fact, made my life easier through his healthcare changes. And his statements on the gun control issue simply cannot, and MUST NOT, be ignored.

But, you still have a log in your eye, Mr. President. If you want the complete and total respect and allegiance of the American people, you need to do the one thing you’re still reluctant about. It’s what you’re still lying about. With ALL DUE RESPECT for your leadership at this point in time, watch the Planned Parenthood videos, and then we’ll figure out who is really telling the whole truth, nothing but the truth… so help us, God.

If it is possible to have a gentle conversation about politics, as I said, please leave your thoughts in the comments box for me to hear! ;)

linking up with/cross posting for Association of Catholic Women Bloggers


Colleen said...

I loved reading your analysis of the issue. I think there are a lot of conservatives who are waking up to the fact that gun control is a pro-life issue too. While there is hypocrisy on both sides, it is important for us to maintain our integrity as a pro-life community by recognizing the equal importance and dignity of lives lost to gun violence in our country. A good read. Thanks.

Tacy said...

Yes! So true! It is Pro-Life issue. For sure. ;)