I recently sent a Happy Birthday wish to John Raskauskas, my friend, sometime-teacher, and local Go-to-Geek when I’ve got computer trouble. He thanked me and said he still enjoyed my blog. That reminded me that I haven’t posted anything since last month. Better get to it.
Not that I haven’t been thinking about this blog, where I said I would post whatever I was chewing on and thinking about on any given day. For the last several days, I have been thinking about Christmas and the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I have been doing one thing and another to partake in and prepare for Christmas, and also reading about and listening to the national discussion about gun common sense—a term I much prefer to gun control.
Twenty-six innocents gunned down by one lone madman, twenty of them children: that is enough to break the heart and cast sorrow over all the land. This horror juxtaposed with Christmas is more than the mind can bear. Today I had a letter from my friend Grace, who is ninety-three. “All those families!” she wrote. Her son had come by to take her shopping that morning, and finally, she told me, she could not think or move. She went back to the car, where she sat, and cried.
All this, while Christmas is here, and life goes on in its own relentless way. A couple of days ago, closing Christmas card envelopes with a little Christmas seal, I thought, it’s nice that we do this once a year, these small, special touches for people we love, for family and friends who are far away. And then, while visiting with friends in the coffee corner of a nearby market, as we gave them each a present, I heard people at the next table talking about assault weapons, and gun control, and would we get it done this time? It made me think of the person who is advocating for more guns, saying we should give guns to teachers; train them to shoot. Only in America, where some people think that the solution to the violent deaths and injuries caused by guns is more guns. Oh the madness.
Is it possible that now, at last, there is an end to this madness? I don’t know. With President Obama in the White House, with his choice of Vice President Biden to lead the way toward meaningful action, I think it is possible. During his first term, with a Democratic House led by Speaker Pelosi, the President got the Affordable Health Care Act passed. After all those Presidents who tried and failed, Barack Obama got it done.
I know, Obamacare doesn’t measure up to what most of us on the left wanted. I wanted Single Payer; so did a lot of people. Then we wanted a Public Option. That didn’t happen. But we didn’t stop wanting, hoping, working for and toward the common good. Those of us on the left are greedy; we want all the social justice we can get. And when it was all said and done, we did get health reform. What we have is better than what we had, and by 2014, it will be even better. Perhaps we are even on the beautiful slippery slope to Single Payer.
So maybe, just maybe, with President Obama at the helm, we will get an assault weapons ban, and adequate funding for access to mental health counseling and treatment, and background checks for those wanting to purchase guns. Common sense measures. Maybe it will happen. It’s Christmas; I can make a Christmas wish. If we all make that wish, and back it up with an assault of calls, emails, and letters to Congress, we can make this wish come true.