I do not have new words. I do not have better words. I do not have THE (b)right idea. I do not have the deepest grief. I cried fewer times than yesterday. I did my job. I took pleasure in the food I put in my body. My back didn’t hurt when I jogged, and I noticed this, and I was glad. And I am still stupefied; and deeply, impotently angry.
Yes, of course. The proximate cause of the last n years of [insert innocent victims here] lives being ‘cut short’ is down to the [insert negative adjective(s) here] (mostly) men with personal arsenals bigger than the ‘hero’ in Olympus Has Fallen. But they’re mostly dead (which is better than they deserve) and we’re all stuck with a political impasse which is literally shooting us in places far more lethal than the foot.
I am supposed to narrow this narrative to a well-informed rant lambasting our in-the-pocket-of-private-interests, do nothing government, but that’s a waste of pixels. Our American idealism has gotten drunk on a few successful Twitter storms for beloved TV shows, or against some skittish publicly traded business. Ladies and gentlemen, grown men have had their genital selfies broadcast through national news outlets. Most of them are still elected, married, getting richer, and shagging/harassing/abusing their target demographic through a different private number. No amount of ‘exposing’ a politician’s hypocrisy, selfishness, or intellectual deficiency is going to make them change. I believe they just call all of it publicity.
So what the hell are we supposed to do? For those of us who care beyond the posts and likes we have one vote per election, ballot question, etc.; impassioned letters, petitions, and sometimes meetings, with our legislators…which frankly feels a little hopeless against billions of dollars in lobbyists, funded projects in your district, special interest PACs; and millions of angry people who -fuck!- have guns.
Please vote. And not for the racist guy with a shag carpet tile on his head. Don’t give up on those letters and petitions and meetings either.If you’ve got the stamina see if you can organize a gun buy back in your community.
But it’s time to get creative, coordinated and disruptive. 24/7 media coverage won’t bring any of those amazing people back, is inadvertently glorifying, and is no doubt giving someone else ideas. Competitive vigil-ing is healing and a good excuse to hug strangers (ask first), but it’s also another act in this pageant we have rehearsed so much it is rote. Other nations, your lights and solidarity are warm fuzzies, but you know from your own experiences we are facing cold steel and hot lead. Your condemnation of our gun laws, trade interruption until we improve our policies, and cooperation to interrupt and destroy trafficked weapons would be the real assist.
We have to out-stubborn our state and federal governments to secure our safety. Bring me your boycotts, your sit-ins, your work-slow downs, your sex-strikes, your hack-a-thons (Anonymous, can you hear us?). It’s time to think outside the coffin so we can stop lining them up.