Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We really CAN change things

I'm re-purposing this blog to talk about the things that have been on my mind lately. I want to keep writing as a way to never forget the children that died at Sandy Hook school. I am outraged at the discourse about how we can never do anything about guns, that gun control will never work, and that its really a mental health issue. It's gotten so that people believe that massacres are just a fact of life in the USA. It's not individuals that need more mental health care, it is our collective consciousness. Our nation is sick and we have to figure out how to heal it.

People think the problem is just too big to solve. We already have too many guns in this country, and an entrenched gun industry. How can we ever change this? How can we turn a country around that is heading into an abyss of endless violence?

When I was a much younger man the country faced other seemingly unsolvable problems. Racism was rampant and all attempts to pass equal rights legislation were beat back by segregationists. We were mired in an endless war in Vietnam that was taking a terrible toll in lives and destruction. Our attempts to bring attention to these issues were met with cries of "outside agitators" and calls for "law and order". But we prevailed, and we forced a sitting president to step down, and we forced an end to that war. Most of us were just kids, barely out of high school. We didn't know you couldn't change things. We didn't know the problem was just too big to solve. All we knew was our outrage and our blind conviction that the war was wrong and we had to change it. We were young, idealistic and had a whole lot of energy.

What we did in protesting and ending the war in Vietnam had far greater reach than just ending the war. It popped the cork that was holding back progress on many social issues like civil rights, and the environment. It opened the door for women to start demanding equal treatment. It changed the way the nation looked at its young people and bumped our consciousness up a notch. Sure, the wave of progress faded after a while. The Reagan years swept in a reactionary mind set which has not yet lost it's grip on our nation. But we did change things. Against insurmountable odds we made a difference.

So I say now, if we could topple LBJ we can beat the NRA. Stay tuned ...

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