Then, President Obama stole Janet for Homeland Security and John McCain decided Sarah Palin was fit to be one 71 year old heartbeat away from the presidency and instead of Gabby in the Senate I have Jeff Flake. Sometimes it's a little bit of an embarrassment to admit that I'm from Arizona.
On Sunday, Sgt. Lois and I were surrounded by a house full of like-minded, pro-choice, Democrats, at Arizona List's fete honoring Pam Simon, a fellow January 8th shootee, for her quiet determination and hard work on the issue of sensible gun legislation It was muggy and close quarters and it filled my heart with joy.
The Assistant Leader of the Democratic Caucus of the Arizona Senate was there, telling us that three women now lead the Senate Democrats. Being women, and willing to compromise, they have forged bonds across the aisle with female Republicans and have been able to nibble around the edges of some of the more egregious pieces of legislation proposed by the Conservative Republican majority.
There was a Tucson City Councilwoman and assorted movers and shakers in the liberal Democrat world. There was Stephanie, Myla's friend, who spent an afternoon in my backyard just after I intersected with bullets. Jocelyn from Moms Demand Action was there, proud of her new role as Regional Director for the organization. Talk about getting in on the ground level; she co-founded the Tucson chapter less than six months ago and now she is running the show in five western states.
There was networking galore. "Let me introduce you to...." was the order of the day. Sgt. Lois hadn't seen Dot since the 1970's; they recognized one another as if no decades had passed at all. There wasn't a necktie in the house; it was Tucson in August and we were warm.
Never fear, Moms Demand Action was on it
and their Stroller Jam made the point several days later.
Ah, yes, politics in the desert.
Moms Demand Action has collected over 1.5 million signatures on a petition demanding a plan, on the federal and state levels, to bring sensible gun legislation to a vote. Gabby and Mark's PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions, now has the resources to be an effective financial counterweight to the NRA's money, and they are putting that power to good use. The NRA has targeted legislators who voted for the state's revised, sensible-to-me, gun laws and ARS is providing a monetary bulwark. If legislation is held up because law makers are afraid, ARS is proving that we are here for the long haul, willing to put our money where our mouths are, if they, too, will stay the course. The speeches were hopeful, if not terribly optimistic.
Pam Simon was Gabby's Community Outreach Director; now she's an effective voice lobbying for attention to how we sell and regulate firearms in this country. She, like most of us, was a reluctant convert to the cause. Little Cuter begged me to stay away, because "the people on the other side have weapons, Mom!" Pam's son asked the same of her, in a similar vein. "If you're going to take on guns, Mom, could you do it in a way that no one notices you?"
It's scary. It's necessary. We can't change minds, because the sides are so entrenched. It seems that we have to change the people, instead. Pam, in her quiet yet certainly noticed way, is helping to make that happen. She is, as Arizona List dubbed her on Sunday, a True Champion.
If she can do it, having faced bullets tearing through her body, then so can I.
And so can you.