Politics, Gun Culture, & Planned Parenthood

A scary thought came to me yesterday as I scanned through my Facebook newsfeed: we live in a violent world and it’s not going to get better.

That might seem like a pretty basic thought that most of you have thought before, but I honestly hadn’t. I tend to look at the world in a “if you don’t like the way things are, get active and change them” sort of way. I wouldn’t say that I’m an optimist, but I am a believer in hard work, grassroots efforts, and humanity.

I racked my brain to figure out what was different about the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs to cause this doubt. Surely if that thought hadn’t crossed my mind after the failure to react and enforce gun control following the shootings in Newtown, it wasn’t going to. Twitter, good old Twitter, where people go to empty their unfiltered dark thoughts and hatred, answered my question.

This is the first mass shooter that large groups of people are actively supporting, where people are saying that the women there getting abortions deserved it. The sickest part is that these people also identify as “pro-life,” yet are advocating for women being shot over a legal medical procedure. Fuck. That. Noise.

And just like that, I was back – we can do something about this, but it’s going to take manpower. We change things by getting active politically. We need legislators that will stand against domestic terrorism, that will not try to take away women’s health rights, that will promote gun control, and that can work together to accomplish these things. We’ve seen what happens when we have a President that wants to work on issues that benefit the citizens of our country and a Congress that will do anything to work against him.

I know, I know, some of you hate politics and want no part in it. However, I have to ask why that is, and if it’s worth the risk of not getting involved, because the people we elect make decisions that affect all of our lives every single day. Also, getting involved can be way easier than you might think, and can be done in part from the comfort of your couch.

Get informed. Learn about the candidates, and I’m not just talking about who’s running for President. Learn where your state and local representatives stand on issues. Learn about the candidates that are running for your city council. Local representatives often move on to be state representatives, who often move on to be national representatives. Every position matters.

Speak up. If people are spreading incorrect information about candidates, say something. You don’t have to be aggressive or confrontational about it; something along the lines of, “you know, actually so-and-so has a voting record of this and that. It’s something to think about.”

Vote, vote, vote! It absolutely matters, even if you’re voting blue in a predominantly red state. There are other issues on the ballot, and there are too many people that don’t vote because they think their vote won’t count. There is too much at stake to stay home on voting day.

Get involved. There are so many levels of involvement, there’s something for everyone. Volunteer to drive people to the polls, participate in a voter registration drive, or volunteer on election day. If there’s a candidate that you are passionate about, volunteer for the campaign. There is behind the scenes work to do if you’re not comfortable being a face for the campaign, there are phone calls to be made if you are physically unable to do some of the other events, there are envelopes to stuff and things to assemble if you don’t like talking on the phone. You can volunteer once or as frequently as you desire. You can also run for office and BE the change that we need.

Support. We need to support the organizations and agencies that are working to do good in the world, both in action and through donations. We need to speak up when people are spreading dangerous lies, like the videos that claimed Planned Parenthood sells baby parts.

Our country is presently in a state of chaos. Our gun culture has taken on a life of its own. We live in a scary time; we can’t choose to stay silent and inactive anymore.