So this is how close I was to President Barack Obama yesterday.
Actually I was a little bit closer because he shook my hand and talked to me. And I think I talked back to him. Or maybe I drooled because I was a bit overcome. But I think I at least said “Hi, nice to meet you!” Like I would to the lunch lady or something. But that was more appropriate than “OMG Barack, tell Michelle I love her bangs!” Which I totally wanted to say, but I bet he gets that all the time so I decided on sometime more original like “Hi.”
Anyway, I sat in a small, hot room in the presence of our President, my senators, my congresspeople, many other elected officials, many of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ finest men and women in uniform, and people who believe we can make a difference.
I sat next to women who lost their children to gun violence. Mothers, who even eight years after losing their six year old daughter, still shed fresh tears because the loss is still that raw. No one should lose a child.
Gun control is a complicated issue. Everyone knows that and tempers are hot and words are cruel as we as a nation try to come up with something that makes sense.
And there are no perfect answers right now. Maybe there never will be. But as President Obama said to us yesterday “It may not be the perfect solution. We may not save every life. But we can make a difference.” And doing nothing is not an option.
He reiterated that the Second Amendment will remain. Our right to own guns and be responsible gun owners will not change. My husband owns guns, most men in my family are hunters and own guns.
But why shouldn’t it be harder to get a gun than a driver’s license? Why shouldn’t there be better background checks? Why shouldn’t there be laws banning gun ownership from those with criminal records and mental health issues. And why do we need weapons of war on our streets.
“Weapons of war have no place on our streets, in our schools, or threatening our law enforcement officers.” – President Barack Obama 2/4/2013
And I know, laws don’t stop criminals, they will still find ways to commit their crimes. A law will never be an end all. We know that. So maybe we need to listen to some of the leaders in Minneapolis who have reduced violent crimes by spending time and money in the communities – getting mentors for boys and young men to get them out of gangs and into school and work and providing a positive role model. Maybe we just need to spend more time getting to know our neighbors and spending more time on our sidewalks than in our living rooms staring at a screen. Maybe we need a bit of civility as a country and somehow figure out how to get reconnected to each other and start watching out for one another again instead of worrying about all of the bad guys around.
Maybe I have a naive faith in people still – that I think everyone is still a ‘nice guy’ and the thought of arming myself against my neighbors makes me sick to my stomach. That more guns are not the solution or the country that I want to live in. That is not my America that I believe in – an America that just assumes people must be bad so let’s make sure we are protected. That is not working together. And that’s not what this country was built on.
I want to live where people and neighbors watch out for all the kids and I know everyone’s name again. And I want to live in a Nation that cares enough about their youth that these kids get the education and hope they need to want a good life. And I want parents to make their kids be responsible and independent thinkers again.
I think we are losing the forest for the trees with all of the verbal lashings back and forth about gun violence and gun control.
And until you’ve held the hand and wiped the tears of a mom who lost her baby girl to gun violence….
Well, I suggest opening your ears and heart a bit and really listen a little harder.
“If there’s even one thing we can do, if there’s just one life we can save—we’ve got an obligation to try.” – President Barack Obama 2/4/2013
I want to make it clear that I didn’t get invited to meet President Obama because of my blog or any political affiliations that I have. I got a seat through a friend as I really wanted to be there in person to hear what he said. And when I met him he did not say “OMG I love your blog” – but seriously, wouldn’t that have been super cool!
Also, Astrid was mad that I talked to him at all..because he’s a boy and all and Astrid doesn’t like boys. She actually asked me “Mommy, did you talk to Bawack Obama?” and when I said “Yes, of course.” She then said “Well, I don’t like boys and I don’t think you should talk to him.” So I said “Don’t worry honey because our president in 2016 will be a woman and then even you can talk to her.”