Remember when all those six year old kids were shot and killed while at school in Connecticut? Remember how that was going to change everything? Remember the outrage and the horror and how finally the government would get its shit in order and do something about gun violence?
And remember how the National Rifle Association said that horror and outrage was just an emotional response to a tragedy and people would quickly forget.\?
The NRA was right. They were right when they said the outrage and horror was an emotional response — because you’re supposed to be fucking emotional when a couple dozen six year old boys and girls are slaughtered. If you don’t have an emotional response to children being shot 150 times in five minutes then you’re some sort of fucking Terminator.
And the NRA was right when they said people would forget. Congress has basically abandoned the assault-style weapons ban. Admittedly, that legislation wouldn’t do much good — but it would do any harm. Even a little good is better than no harm. Congress is facing a difficult struggle to pass a watered down universal background check, and might not even be able to pass a straw buyer law. Despite the overwhelming support of the public, Congress may just stand around with its thumb up its collective ass. Again.
And you know why? Because Congress is scared of the NRA and they’re not scared of you. Because the NRA is leaning on Congress and you’re not. Because the NRA is speaking directly to the people who’ll vote on the legislation and you’re not.
Oh, you’re answering polls and saying you want effective legislation passed. You’re on Facebook sharing articles on gun violence and ‘liking’ photographs insulting the NRA. But who gives a rat’s ass about that? You’re not calling or writing your Congressional representatives and telling them that your vote in the next election depends on their vote on commonsense gun safety legislation.
Don’t blame Congress if this legislation fails. Blame your ownself. You can have an impact, but only if you’re willing to take a few minutes and do something. And folks, it really only takes a few minutes.
If you don’t know who your representatives are, you can get that information here. The most effective way to reach your representative is write an actual letter. Like on paper. With an inkpen. Put it in an envelope and mail it. Seriously. That shit gets read. And it carries weight. But if writing a letter cuts too deeply into your day, use the telephone. A phone call is the second most effective approach. Email? Not very effective at all. And those mass email petitions are almost totally worthless.
This is what you do: give them your actual name. Tell them your zip code, so they can be sure you live in their district (if you can’t vote for or against them, they’re not going to care what your opinion is). Clearly identify the specific issue you’re contacting them about, let them know you feel strongly, and let them know your vote is on the line.
We get the government we deserve, sad to say. So for fuck’s sake, people, do something. Write your legislators. Call their offices. It won’t take long and it won’t cost much money.
Do it even if you don’t think it will do any good. One of my legislators is Chuck Grassley, as big an asshole as you’ll ever meet. He’s opposed to even the most reasonable limits on firearms, and there’s nothing I can say that will change his vote. I wrote him anyway. I called his office anyway. Because if this jerk is purporting to represent me, then I’m damned well going to make my positions clear to him.
My other congressional representatives both support sensible gun safety measures. So I called and wrote telling them how much I appreciate their efforts and they can count on my vote and my support. They like hearing that.
Here’s the thing: we don’t have to get every vote. We just need to get enough votes. We just need to convince a few moderate Democrats and Republicans that they don’t have to kiss the NRA’s ass. But they’re not going to act unless we do.