My high school–aged children have never lived in a world where hearing about another school shooting was surprising. Sure, some of us may still find shock in yet another school shooting, but to the March for our Lives generation, this world of school shootings is all they have ever known. They are rightly contemptuous of the supposed leaders in our government who have failed even to try to protect our children. And who continue to fail, over and over again, each fresh day that they evade this highest and most sacred responsibility.
The helplessness I felt when my kids told me they always look for an escape route at the beginning of each school year is not one I will soon forget. Active school shooter response trainings have replaced the fire drills of school days past. We have normalized this horror and our children will not, and should not, forgive us.
I am not interested in hearing the NRA-sponsored arguments, little more than market-tested rationalizations from a prosperous industry that demands Americans buy more guns, forever, regardless of the cost. Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that easy access to guns is the prime factor in our country’s epidemic of school shootings is willfully ignoring facts.
The fact is that actions speak louder than words. The actions of the Republican Party say that our kids’ lives don’t matter. Not as much as ideology, or corporate donations, or a convenient political wedge issue that keeps their base loyal even as the GOP robs them blind. When it comes to demonizing Arabs, Trump and his collaborators demand drastic action after any terror attack even tangentially related to Islam. When mass shootings occur daily, their top priority is damage control, and nothing more. Kids bleed out in school and Republicans become public relations representatives.
Shame on us for allowing this to happen. A political party that ignores the mass slaughter of children, that openly favors tax breaks for billionaires over the welfare of their constituents, that actively fights to keep Americans sick, and poor, and afraid, should have no home in American politics. And yet Republicans run this country from top to bottom. Part of the reason is that on too many issues — taxes, healthcare, mass surveillance, and gun reform — Democrats have not provided a strong enough contrast with Republicans.
Their success is our failure, and we cannot let it continue, for our children’s sake. We must get our house in order and provide a credible promise to bring responsive governance to Americans. And we must beat the Republicans at the ballot box this November. If you feel as strongly as I do, contact your county chairperson and commit to organizing for justice. It’s time to hold our lawmakers, Republicans and our own Democrats alike, accountable for their actions in office.
Utah Democratic Party Chair