Happy New Year! May 2013 be healthy, prosperous and full of adventure for you and yours.
For the first time since the Grape arrived on the scene, I slept through the ball drop, sick with a remarkably tenacious cold the Grape and I passed back and forth during the height of the holiday festivities.
I meant to write a sassy holiday newsletter in this space last week as I've done in years past, and somehow it never materialized. Largely because, though Christmas came just the same, everyone old enough to be cognizant of current events was a bit melancholy beneath the usual fizz and sparkle.
Even the ever-jubilant Boston Pops, which R. and I attend with good friends every year, sang their evening out on a subdued note. No rousing Alleluia or jaunty Man With the Bag for this year's final encore. Keith Lockhart led his orchestra and the Tanglewood Chorus in a mournful Let There Be Peace Upon the Earth. Not a lot of dry eyes in the house.
A cheeky summary of the year's gaffes and unintended comedies of error seemed like an inappropriate bedfellow for my last post, a letter to the President pleading for meaningful and comprehensive gun control legislation. I know my letter, which I printed and sent to President Obama and several other elected officials, ran long and probably won't be read by anyone but an intern. But I hope, along with millions of other moms, that I can help inundate our leaders with demands for sensible and comprehensive firearms regulation—to a degree that they will actually find their backbones and act.
I am hopeful that new grassroots groups like One Million Moms for Gun Control will continue to push hard for legislation and I encourage you all to check them out. When they (or a similar group) organize a major march on Washington, the Grape and I will participate, and I hope you will join us.
I hope OMMFGC's leadership will come to spearhead the marginalization of the NRA, a fringe group of lunatic lobbyist mongers of violence. The NRA are mercenaries who deserve no place at the table when gun control comes up for discussion. And that's about the most polite thing I can think of to say about them.
I hope at the same time, OMMFGC will take a page from the NRA's playbook and start "scoring" our Congressional Representatives. Any elected official with a "good" grade from the NRA should have an awful lot of explaining to do to his or her constituents, and should receive a commensurate poor grade from the moms. You can check whether your representatives take the NRA's money here. You can demand they stop taking the NRA's money here.
The NRA had four million members before the Newtown massacre; before the massacre 3/4 of their own membership disagreed with the NRA's absolutist stance on firearms regulation. A supermajority of NRA members said they support background checks for ALL gun purchases—something their men on K Street ferociously oppose.
I don't know how many members the NRA lost after Newtown. Their Facebook page disappeared right after the slaughter. And don't let them tell you they scrubbed it because of moms demanding gun control and student activists posting remarks with the trending hashtags #FucktheNRA and #NoWayNRA. Wayne LaPierre has thicker skin than that.
I have no doubt he can handle being told to fuck himself. Repeatedly.
The NRA scrubbed their page because of the lunatic remarks posted by their own right wing members–that 25% who think we shouldn't restrict any weapon, anytime from anybody. The NRA's disappearance from social media wasn't a result of hurt feelings.
Their drop from the social media grid was a calculated decision, meant to stop the public from seeing what wing nuts their driving members truly are. As the days have ticked off the calendar and the tiny coffins have been buried, parts of their right wing fringe has regrouped and become more articulate.
There's a tweet bouncing around from the NRA saying that the intent of the second amendment was to make sure the government never has better weapons than its citizens.
Which is bullshit on multiple scores.
The government at the time wanted to ensure it could raise a citizens' militia, a National Guard, to defend itself.
Furthermore, if the civilians were entitled to any weapon in the government arsenal, it would be perfectly legal to possess a nuclear weapon, sell one to your neighbor, etc.
I understand that people have disaster fatigue. They don't want to stay sad over the senseless, preventable tragedy in Newtown. The desire to move forward is human nature.
But here's the rub: The NRA and its handmaidens in Congress are banking on the moms of America moving on.
Let's not do that. Please keep contacting your representatives, urging them to reinstate an assault weapons ban, to limit high capacity magazines, to close background check loopholes and to make major efforts to remove existing arsenal from circulation.
Make a resolution not to shop at Walmart, the country's largest retailer of assault weapons like the Bushmaster AR-13 used to murder the children of Newtown, until they stop selling all military style firearms.
Let's make 2013 a new year in America: A year when we join the rest of the civilized world in banning weapons of mass destruction like the rifle used to murder 26 innocents, 20 of them children in the first grade.