50 Thoughts: An Open Letter to Congress

Originally published September 24, 2018

Dear (Our Do-Nothing) Congress,

I’m just going to take a night out from my 50 Thoughts about life in general to direct a singular thought in your direction.

You are failing.

Yep, I’m a tree-hugging liberal Democrat that believes in a woman’s right to choose, equal access to the best public education has to offer, health care as a right and not a privilege and empathy as an integral part of how we craft legislation that supports Americans and the immigrants that come here looking for a better life.

And, I’m sure you could guess, this also includes treating women with respect and progression toward common sense gun legislation, too.

But on these last two points? You are not only failing. You inaction toward, or derision of, these two issues is an affront not just to our own civil liberties, but what should be considered laws of nature.

Let’s start with your treatment of women, shall we?

I’m all for the guiding principle that we are innocent until proven guilty. And everyone deserves the right to defend themselves against charges made against them. Even when it comes to allegations of sexual assault. I didn’t fall off a turnip truck. I am perfectly capable of understanding that women can be just as manipulative as men.

But at the same time, potential victims should have the ability to be hear in a non-judgmental forum without feeling as if they are being assaulted, again. Just as there is a presumption of innocence, there should be a presumption of truth-telling. That’s why there should be an impartial investigation, instead of personal attacks.

“Boys will be boys.”

“Everyone has done something like that.”

“She should have reported the assault when it happened.”

No, no and no.

I’m raising two young men, in addition to a teenaged daughter. If they thought at any time it was OK to pressure, let alone force, a woman to perform an intimate act, from a hug or a kiss to something much more involved, I will have failed as a parent. In no universe is that OK.

And in the age of #metoo, the outdated, uneducated notion that all women should and do report assaults in the minutes after they occur would be laughable if it wasn’t so fucking sad that some of you still cling to it.

And then there’s guns.

Let me tell you about my daughter. My beautiful, resilient, strong daughter. All of 17.

She came home from school and swim practice today, sat down on the couch next to me, and crumbled. She’s just spent the day moving from class to class with the threat of a school shooting hovering over the entire school. A threat, which while we all suspect at this point tonight has been resolved, that finally, after several years of lockdown practice and at least two lockdowns where she spent time locked in a pool equipment room and classroom, not really sure what was going to happen, got under her skin.

“How is anyone supposed to go back to school after something like that?” she said through tears.

I blame you. All of you. School shootings should have never happened. Ever. But they have. And they will. I was pretty much done with all of you after Sandy Hook. If nearly two dozen dead 6-year-olds isn’t enough to move you to pass legislation, nothing will. But this is the atmosphere you have all sowed. Where kids can’t sleep at night because they just don’t know for sure when their number is up.

I encouraged her to channel that fear into action, by writing a letter to her representatives. To spend this year researching positions and candidates so that in 2020 when she is old enough to vote, she can feel at least a little bit empowered.

And it’s my hope I can be right beside her in the booth, joining her and her friends to vote out anyone that has outed themselves as a misogynistic, NRA-loving, narcissist.

We are coming for you.

Today’s recommendation: I need something soothing after today’s raging. Neil Gaiman always delivers with The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

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