Today is my birthday, and once again I am overwhelmed and grateful for so many people sharing well wishes and messages of joy and love – by phone, by Facebook, by text, by phone calls. I spent the day at Stanford University, watching my godson graduate and listening to Ken Burns give one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard (commencement or otherwise) about what our government has done right in its history, and how that will be jeopardized if Trump becomes president. Burns urged us to vote and do whatever is necessary to keep that unqualified candidate out of office. I was surrounded by family/friends that I’ve known for over 20 years and that I’m so thankful to have in my life. I watched as families and friends cheered for loved ones, shed tears, gave hugs, and took photos together. It was a day filled with joy and love and pride and gratitude.
One of the first things I read this morning, before all the birthday love, was of the mass shooting that killed 50 in Orlando. A crime of hate. A crime against LGBT people in this month in which we dedicate to celebrating pride and acceptance. A crime that could have been a lot more difficult to commit if we had stricter gun safety laws in this country. I said a prayer, not just for the 50 who lost their lives too early, in an act of violence that truly is unimaginable, but also for their friends and family and co-workers and neighbors and lovers – all that are grieving and overcome by sadness, disbelief, and anger. As I finished my prayer, I thought, “This is too much. Almost every single day I’m saying a prayer for people I don’t know; people whose lives have been taken too early by mass shootings. I’m saying a prayer and offering condolences to thousands of people for deaths born of hatred and enabled by irresponsible regulation. Prayer isn’t enough.”
When I returned home tonight, I decided to share my thoughts, not just with my Facebook and Twitter friends, but with my elected officials. I want my elected officials to know that if they do not pass legislation to stop this madness, I will not only not vote for them, but I will do everything in my power to ensure that they are not re-elected. If you feel the same, write your elected officials. You can find your Senators’ information at this page and your Representative’s here. If you’re interested in a template to send, a good one to begin with is here. The time for the violence to stop has long passed.