It’s almost unbelievable that it’s only been ONE year since this man-in-chief has usurped his reign in D.C. Yet, yet. What has occurred since the election has only realized truths that have been well-hidden for generations: these united states are not, and have not been, united.
What a year it has been.
2018 was reigned in with far too many shootings, springing up a familiar, unresolved discourse on gun regulation. February 14th 2018, what should have been a fun holiday celebrating Valentine’s Day was one that fueled the need for change. A New York Times article ‘Mass Shooting Generation’ sums it up: what should be a place of refuge, a place where the last thing you would ever think of is a shooting or dying, has now become a place where murders often take place.
On this President’s Day, where are the ghosts of president’s day past when we need them?
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” President Barack Obama
For this 2 of 4 President’s Day, the ardently insightful President Barack Obama is our second ghost. [View first ghost]
What Can We Learn, Mr. President?
When the Sandy Hook shooting happened on December 14, 2012, the country saw then President Barack Obama plea for ‘common-sense’ gun regulations. Nothing has been done since. What I remember from that day was a sense of injustice and frustration: would something NOW be done? Did this have to happen in order for some to finally feel the need for change? I saw President Obama humbly address the country to express his own grief and frustration. Afterwards, talk of “too soon” and “politicizing the moment” flooded social media and talking heads on the news. “Thoughts and prayers” were all that politicians would do. Now in 2018, at the expense of children’s lives, another mass shooting has happened and the same cyclical discourse has occurred: thoughts and prayers are the most this administration will do to solve this problem.
What I learned from President Obama the day of the Sandy Hook shooting was that change will not happen unless a majority of like-minded individuals fight, together, for a common goal. Many students and non-students have gathered together to express that this is it; this is enough.
Lesson: Remember That The Most Important Title Is Citizen
President Obama left his presidency with hope — he told us that “the most important title is not ‘president’ or ‘prime minister’; the most important title is ‘citizen.'” Often, it feels as if, as an individual not of direct political association, we have no power. However, we can not forget that being a “citizen” (legal or not) is automatically political. We have beliefs, desires, understandings, worldviews, and perspectives that reflect our upbringing and our shared culture; these are associations that are part of our identities. How can they not be political, especially when they influence our community?
What Can WE Do?
“They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS.”
Take inspiration from Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School:
“If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it […] I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.”
Remember: we have the power to demand and inflict change.
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