Updated: 5 days ago
The gift of life is priceless. Think about the birth of a child. It is a joyous occasion when a friend, partner, or a loved one makes an announcement that they are expecting. It’s wonderful to see a new bundle of joy welcomed into the world with cheers and celebrations. The birth or adoption of a child is such a sacred event, filled with so much love and compassion that we feel compelled to protect the child, even after they have grown up.
We used to celebrate life, especially the birth of a child. Unfortunately, due to the constant cycle of violence in the United States, people have become desensitized to the loss of life and its value. Today, political power is more important than protecting the lives of others. Everything we "say" we stand for in America is undermined by our actions and viewed as hypocritical by other countries. Without a doubt, our compassion for one another is waning.
Recently, our country was struck by two devastating acts of violence in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. In Buffalo, NY, an 18-year-old gunman opened fire in a TOPS supermarket, killing ten people. The motivating factor was race. In Uvalde, TX, another 18-year-old gunman walked into Robb Elementary School with an assault rifle and 1,657 rounds of ammunition. He murdered nineteen children and two teachers who were helpless to defend themselves for over an hour while law enforcement officers waited in the hallway. Where was the urgency? A few days later, a gun convention is held in the same state where this unfortunate incident happened. There were no calls for cancellation, just business as usual.
America, what has happened to us? This cannot be the new normal.
During these incidents, I struggled with many emotions as an educator and the daughter of a law enforcement officer whose life was taken by teenagers with guns. What is happening in America is incomprehensible. I don't understand why we are still waiting for legislative action on the issue of gun reform. If the bodies of ten people in Buffalo, NY, and twenty-one lives brutally taken in an elementary school with an assault weapon are not enough to act on gun reform, I don't know what is.
While the H.R.8 bill sits on the dusty desks of the Senate, waiting for lawmakers to take action, lives are being lost. We need lawmakers who won't just talk but act when it comes to the needs of the citizens of the United States.
Compassion does not wait. It is an action.
The 2nd Amendment provides us with the right to bear arms. Then it becomes a question of what kind of arms and who can carry them? The Constitution is vague on this issue. Legislators must define these rights and clarify the context of this amendment. However, this is not just a legislative matter. It is also a moral issue.
In my view, it's a moral issue for lawmakers because you can't represent the people of the United States if you can't identify with their suffering. When I say, “identify with their suffering,” I mean become familiar with their plight and stories. Unless you understand what people are going through, you will not feel compelled to act. To gain this familiarity, you need to visit the communities in the state or district you serve. If you are not visiting the communities you serve, why are you in office?
As a legislator, you cannot have tunnel vision. Legislators with tunnel vision will not compromise on advancing their agenda, even if it is discriminatory. What we need are lawmakers who have peripheral vision. We need leaders who are aware of and in tune with their surrounding communities and the people they serve. We need lawmakers who aren't going to sit idly by and do nothing while loved ones bury the victims of mass shootings. We need lawmakers who will do something!
Again, compassion does not wait. It is an action.
It may be wishful thinking for me to think that things can change in America, but I believe they can. First, we need to restore our compassion for one another. To accomplish this, we must interact with each other, whether through dialogue, by visiting each other's communities, or by learning about the cultures of those around us. Second, America needs to do some soul searching. We must understand how the history of racist and discriminatory policies affects the judgment and inaction of some lawmakers. Unfortunately, legislators who see the world from a divided perspective will also present and pass legislation that is divided. We cannot value the life of another if we see them as inferior. If we don’t confront that ugly truth, we will never be able to move forward. Next, we must implement preventive measures by offering mental health services to those in need. Finally, never underestimate the power of the people. We have a voice, but we need to use it. We can speak through our votes. Vote for candidates who will advocate for gun reform and enact laws to ensure our safety. Let your compassion lead you to action by signing this petition for universal background checks https://t.co/aWEKah4FV2.
Let's work together to make a difference in this nation by leading with compassion.