I have a link to help you Make Your Voices Heard just under the masthead of The Burrow. I tweet @ABattheBurrow. I share posts on Facebook and I have these adorable MooCards which I hand out when the conversation turns toward taking action. I call my elected officials, leaving scripted messages on voice mail. I sign petitions which bring me spam emails but make me feel good in the moment.
Today, though, I think I made a difference.
Pam Simon, an official Champion of Change according to the White House, sent an email to her Jan 8th cohort, exhorting us to call Governor Brewer's office. Ever obedient, I dialed the number as I read the details. Steam was soon pouring out of my ears. All that meditation, the deep yoga breathing, lowering my shoulders as the biofeedback guru recommended .... none of it worked. I was in the zone... the fury zone... the oh dear God how can this be true zone.... the just wait til I get someone on the phone zone.
Fully expecting to be shunted to the recording system, I stammered a bit when a living, breathing, young woman answered the phone. Identifying myself as a survivor of the January 8th shooting in Tucson, I didn't get two words into my spiel before she interrupted.
"Oh, wow. I just spoke to another survivor."
All the anger went away. It was replaced by an eerie calm in the center of my being. On my terms, to a receptive audience, I could make my pitch. We do not need more guns in public spaces (HB2339 allows concealed weapons at public events and in government buildings unless there are security guards and metal detectors at all entrances).... one was used to murder a child... a child whose hand I was holding....
"...and you brought her there because she wanted to be in government, right?"
This woman was listening to me. She was participating in the conversation. My voice was being heard.
So, I went on.... wondering if the Governor wasn't the least bit tired of being the butt of jokes on The Daily Show.... reminding her that the only armed civilian on January 8th threw a lawn chair rather than firing his handgun..... describing my wounds and my rehab and my heartbreak ... and the heartbreak of CTG's family and friends.... and I begged her to make the Governor hear my side of the story.
I talked for a long time, and, at the end, apologized for taking so much of her time.
"Oh, no. Not at all. Thank you. And, from me, personally.... God Bless You."
I admit that I got a little teary after I hung up the phone. Some of it was for what was lost, but most of it was for what was found. I'd encountered a true public servant. She paid attention. She was careful with facts. She asked clarifying questions. She left me with confidence in the fact that my opinion had been registered, that my voice had been heard.
She's not looking for notoriety, and I respect that. I can admire a woman who's not looking for kudos just for doing her job.
Still, it's rare to meet someone who does her job and does it well... and to have found that person in the office of the Governor of Arizona.... well, let's just say that I am pleasantly surprised.
If you live/vote in Arizona, and you care about sensible gun legislation, you, too can call (602) 542-4331 and urge her to veto HB 2339 and HB 2517.. Tell her you read about it here.