Beyond Reproach


Issues / Friday, February 23rd, 2018

It has been quite something, watching these young people fight back after seeing their peers shot down in front of them by a young man armed with a gun that should never have been available to him.

I’m not American. I don’t like guns. I have never had any desire to own one, touch one, be near one. I am generally uncomfortable with them. This is not my fight, except that it is. These are my neighbours, these kids are the future, and one school shooting inspires more school shootings. It has happened here.

But these kids, they’re saying enough is enough. They’re saying these politicians are not doing their jobs. They’re saying the membership of the NRA should not control politicians. It’s a beautiful thing.

I watched a town hall on CNN with a group of the survivors of the Parkland shootings and officials who need to hear from them. Not just hear from them, listen to them. It was inspiring to watch, although many of the adults threw red herrings – mental illness is not a strong marker of risk for mass shooting, domestic violence sure is though – the youth would not back down, the grieving parents would not back down.

And while this was happening one man tweeted to ask parents:

The replies to this tweet were rather delightful – parents offering ice cream treats, puppies, cars in some cases.

I reject the idea that these children were ridiculing the adults facing them on the stage. They were asking hard questions and refusing to accept stock answers. They were using the forum given to them to address facts and reject lies.

This is democracy at work.

Politicians are the employees of voters. They should be required to answer to us. They make decisions that effect our lives. We have already started teaching our daughter about her rights as a citizen, which include directly addressing any concerns with her elected representatives.

Just because someone got a seat in a legislature does not make them above reproach. In fact, almost the opposite. Their decisions should be examined, critiqued, their motivations should be questioned. They should have their performance reviewed regularly. By all their constituents, young and old.