Tag Archives: Obama

March for Our Lives: Truth to Power

photo by Paul Mayer


This past year, I am always marching in one Washington or another. Most recently, in The March for Our Lives in Friday Harbor, Washington, March 24. Large or small, here or there, they are all important.

Friday Harbor Mayor Farhad Ghatan welcomed over six hundred islanders of all ages before turning everything over to the Middle and High School students standing like a chorus in bright orange tee shirts on the courthouse steps. This was, after all, their event, their cause, and their day. A bright blue sky was behind them.

“To those who think we will not change the world: Just watch us.”

 It’s been six weeks since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the Never Again movement that grew from it shows no signs of stopping. Instead, it only grows.

“What if our lives were more important than the rights of guns?”

When the Columbine High School shooting occurred in 1999 I planted columbine in my garden as a memorial. I’d thought the shooting a horrendous, one-time occurrence. We all wanted to believe that. Instead our country went to the dark side, again and again and again. Even the NRA itself went dark.

“What if the gov’t stopped taking money from the NRA?”

“We have grown up with this problem. We knew this stuff. It’s not like a new, fresh horrible thing that’s happening, it’s been preexisting even before we entered the world,” explains Jaclyn Corin, president of the Junior class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Joining forces with her classmates at Never Again, Corin found herself within a few short weeks talking one-on-one to state representatives and addressing the state legislature in Tallahassee, Florida. Advocacy, for her, has been part of the coping process.

Never Again broke the stigma that had hindered gun control activists in our country for decades. When it seemed impossible. When gun sales and gun fatalities were spiking, yet legislation was blocked. As we grew cynical and perhaps hardened, here came these kids—many of whom are too young to vote.

Never Again seized the moment and broke right through–reinvigorating every generation and swaying the public. (A Gallup poll of March 1 found 67% of Americans say the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made stricter. This is the highest in any Gallup survey since 1993).

Student led and focused like a laser, they are the movement with a crowd that was bred online. Never Again is all about voices, votes, and policy change. In Friday Harbor, The League of Women Voters hosted a table to register voters during the march. This happened everywhere.

Our future is speaking and our future can’t get here fast enough. If I were a college or university I would recruit the founders of Never Again right out of High School. They are the wind of change and they are moving mountains.




Filed under students

Hair of the Dog

Seattle is, as they say, a city of neighborhoods, and when we first moved to Queen Anne, the local 5 Spot restaurant was particularly welcoming. We liked to sit and eat at the bar, watch a UW game or the Mariners, and befriend the bartender. Hank may have been the first person in town to remember our names every time, and so the 5 Spot became for us, the local Cheers bar.

Every now and then we feel in need of that again. Earlier this week, at a time of high election angst, we returned. (It is important to note here that this was before Hurricane Sandy made landfall). The intensity of the election was, at that time, Category 4, all consuming and draining. As Anne Lamott put it, “This is no way to live–rooting around the internet and twitter sites like a truffle hound, looking for better polls.” We had to get out of the house.

Once again, the 5 Spot was just the ticket. For those who are unfamiliar, the 5 Spot continually celebrates an “American Food Festival” by changing its theme every three months.  Sometimes it’s Texas, New Orleans or New York. Currently the theme was Washington D.C. Of course it would be.

Customers entered via a red or blue door to a restaurant decorated with every red, white and blue cliché: stars & stripes, beads, hats and streamers. It felt like one enormous rally. It felt like election night. And it occurred to us that maybe this was one way to deflect from the election, by just stepping right into it. Soon it would all be over, in other words.

“Vote with Your Liver” screamed the cocktails menu. Although I knew we would be ordering our usual iced teas, it was a good read:

Let Me Be Clear Martini, “no details, perfectly clear”

Bain Baubles & Bubbles, “silly, what recession?”

Joe’s Scranton Manhattan

Private Sector Sunrise, “we build, you drink, no interference”

Hair of the Dog, “for those mornings when you feel like you were tied to the roof of your car”

One of my goals this campaign season was to change my mother’s mind, to get her “to vote like a woman.” I wrote a blog post on the subject, “Don’t Call Me During the Debates,” and told mom that I had written it for her. And in every conversation I tried in some way to convince her. Then one day she informed me that it was too late.

“Your father and I have already voted,” she said.

“So there’s no sense talking to you anymore?” I quipped.

Mom laughed, I laughed.

Well, maybe I will try a Hair of the Dog cocktail afterall.

The specialty menu at 5 Spot offered Congressional House Hash, Marion Barry Cakes, White House Standoff, Koch Bros. Memorial Super Pac Porkity Pork Wich, and Initiative 502 “Herb” Salad (in reference to Washington state’s marijuana legalization initiative). I went with my usual, Cobb Salad.

There was no room for dessert. We had so much on our plates. Slurping to the bottom of my Hair of the Dog I was thinking, we can’t go back and protest for women’s rights again, not twice in one lifetime! I want to pray, please let Obama win so I can get on with my work!

Meanwhile, over on the Eastern seaboard, global warming was at our door. And she didn’t knock, and she didn’t just huff and puff, but blew our house down. How many times do we have to be reminded? Nature rules.

Vote, and vote intelligently.


Filed under Category 4