Folks, bear with me for moment.
I haven't written a diary in a long time. But, I've been here for quite a while, through good times, and bad. This is one of those bad times.
Most of us are having the wrong conversation today. And, it's breathing life into the GOP.
We should be talking about the lack of comprehensive health care (and mental health care) in our country. A system that lets mentally ill people be slandered with negative stereotypes for seeking care, and then fails to provide seriously disturbed people with the care they need to protect them, and us, from the type of tragedy that just occurred.
We should be talking about the culture of violence in our society that shows kids 10,000 murders on tv before they're a teenager but won't let them see pictures of a breast feeding mom on face book, or have a frank factual discussion of sexuality with a teacher in high schools. It's the type of society that leads lots of people, not just those with demonstrable mental illness, fantasize that violence is a solution to any problem.
The GOP opposes our general position and discussion of these things BECAUSE THEY LOSE in this conversation.
But, what we find ourselves doing at times like this is talking about "gun control." An issue upon which all right minded progressives pretty much get their asses kicked in public polling. And, we're not even doing it well.
Right now, the GOP is cratering in on itself. It has been for four years. And, with coming demographic shifts and Texas CERTAIN to go Democratic in the next 5 to 10 years, we were positioned to control congress, and the Presidency, for a generation.
If we keep up a RECKLESS discussion of "gun control" we'll breathe life back into a dieing Republican party, hand them the mountain states that folks have fought so hard to win over, and possibly let them reverse the trends in our direction in a number of swing states.
We can successfully discuss Obamacare and mental health. We can successfully discuss our needless culture of mindless violence that elevates violence over sex practically to a fetish. And, we can intelligently discuss some gun control--but if we do it recklessly, well the GOP wins.
And, right now we're not just morning an ungodly amount of dead children in Connecticut, we're also morning THOUSANDS of soldiers who needlessly died in a war of choice in Iraq.
So, people GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER AND ACT LIKE GROWNUPS--smart ones, even. Quit ranting against guns. Start talking about violence. About health care. Even about the crazy NRA. But, stop talking about "GUN CONTROL" and start talking about what SPECIFIC restrictions you want on gun ownership and availability.
The stakes are literally life and death. If you don't know enough about guns to figure out which restrictions make sense, and which are just bullshit, you need to educate yourself. And if you can't figure out enough about politics to realize that the "GUN CONTROL" debate hands the mountain West to the GOP, then you need to learn more about politics.
By all means, rant, grieve, shout, scream, morn, and do what ever you need to do to get through these horrible days. But, focus, people. Don't lose the forest for the trees. And don't give up the Presidency with reactionary calls for non-specific legislation.
Move the argument to OUR TURF, and let's win this fucked up fight against crazy people for the soul of our Country.
FYI--lest you don't believe that I know what I'm talking about.
In real life, I'm an administrative/environmental lawyer.
After the 2005 debacle in Texas re: the anti-marriage amendment, I shut down my law practice and became the only full-time, professional, LGBT lobbyist in Texas. (It was my wife's idea-and yes, I'm straight).
I've run PACs, 501(c)(3)'s, (c)(4)s, and coordinated a (c)(4) table for progressive groups in Texas.
Right now, I'm starting a biomass company that's trying to restore ranch land in West Texas, heal the watershed, and decrease carbon emissions from coal fired power plants.
I put my money where my mouth is on progressive causes.
Also, I can, in fact, ride, rope and shoot. I own guns (including a semi-automatic AK-47), gave my kid a .22 for his 10th Christmas.
And I'm about as progressive as you get in Texas. If there isn't room for people like me in the Democratic party then it'll wind up being as small, and narrow-minded, as the GOP.