Questions I hate to ask.

Dear Sweet Girl,

Normally, I have very little issue asking people direct and inappropriate questions. I’ve asked people about money, sex, ex’s, tons of things I shouldn’t. If someone tells me that I shouldn’t ask that, I’m totally fine with that. If people tell me that I shouldn’t bring up something to their husband/wife/friend, I’ll generally abide. But I’m more or less ok putting people on the spot, as long as it’s not cruel or hurtful. For the most part, I think that as adults who so easily hide behind our blogs, and Facebook and Twitter accounts, we have lost the fine art of question dodging. Politicians still tend to do it well, but they speak more publicly than you and I.

Aw, isn't that precious?

Aw, isn’t that precious?

Which brings me to a question that I hesitate to ask. It’s not that I don’t want to know the answer, because I do. It’s just that I absolutely despise having to ask it. I never thought in my life that this would be an issue, yet it is. I’m trying to craft it in my head so I don’t scare people off, and make you into a kid who can’t do what other kids can, but it jumbles up on me all the time. How do you politely ask other parents “Do you have firearms in your home, and are they loaded? And where are they stored?” without sounding accusatory?

Baby, if you look at 2008 and 2009 and how many kids were killed by guns, you could fill up 229 classrooms. That’s 5,740 children. From that same year, the number of preschoolers killed by guns was double the amount of law enforcement those years killed by guns. If you want to look at how many were injured? 34,387*. I just can’t bring myself to be ok with you playing around these things.

We live in Texas. Texans, democrat and republican alike, love their guns. You play in homes where people have firearms. I know these people and have had conversations about it, and I trust them with you. But how do I deal with a new friend? A play date? A parent I don’t really know? I’m scared of this, because I hate it. I hate the guns, and I think they should be banned for civilians, and I don’t believe that the 2nd amendment is a good amendment. And I hate that people say “It’s our right! It’s in the constitution!” when they know damn well that so was prohibition and so was the three-fifths compromise and it’s just not always right. Because of this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And the other 700+ more since Sandy Hook that I don’t have the heart to even read. This is a great/terrible tool if you want to see for yourself.

So what do I do, love? How do I ask this question? Right now, I have to mull this one over. I’m working on it.

Love,

Mommy

*All stats taken from The Children’s Defense Fund.

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Today, we vote.

Dear Sweet Girl,

When I was a young girl, I would go with my mom on election day to the junior high school in town where we’d pile into a little curtained booth, pull a lever for the curtain to close around us, and she’d flip all sorts of levers and switches. I loved this process, mostly because I couldn’t do it and that was allure enough. The first election I was old enough to vote in was a gubernatorial one in New York where George Pataki was ultimately elected. The first presidential election I voted in brought Bill back for another four. The first protest I was a part of was against the invasion of Iraq. The first time I realized that people who *don’t* vote, yet complain about the state of affairs weren’t thinking clearly,  I was in my late teens.

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This was something we saw this weekend. We had a long talk about why they were doing this, and why they were wearing masks. You were awestruck.

“One vote doesn’t count!” you’ll hear. Well, maybe in a presidential election you might have a point, but in local elections? Nope. No ma’am. Your vote counts so much. Presidential elections are fancy, never-ending, years-long affairs of bullshit upon lies upon shit-talking. Local politics is about you. Personally, not in some abstract “We the People” sort of way. It will effect everything, everyday. From the potholes (I’m looking at you, Dallas) in your street, to the sanitation, to the schools funding, to whether or not the person representing you in Austin or Washington will stand up for your rights.

It matters. Very, very much.

Here’s what does not matter: people who tell you how to think. The loud-mouthed, blabbering, ill-informed radio hosts. The sensationalistic cable news channels. Anyone who puts opinion to “news” without labeling it “opinion” or “satire”.  Actually, just don’t listen to talk radio or watch cable news. Public broadcasting, NPR, actual newspapers with journalists who want to tell the real story? Good. But don’t base your politics on what other people tell you to base it on. There’s always an agenda. Don’t give people that power over you.

Today, we vote. Remember when we talked about Susan B. Anthony after I gave you a coin with her profile on it? She’s one of the ones that helped make this possible for you and me. And we are still suffragettes. And we are still feminists. And we will always be, until the whole world sees us as equals. Don’t ever forget it.

Love,

Mommy