I will be the first to admit that I have turned off the TV. I’ve stopped watching the news. I deleted Facebook from my phone. Ever since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, the attacks on the American values of freedom, liberty, and the rule of law have inundated the public sphere from all angles. There seems to be no end to the fabricated scandals, insider corruption, and guerilla-style defiance for those that oppose the President’s agenda. I got tired of it. I unplugged and started living in the real world, where neighbors are still friendly. Where friends and coworkers can cordially discuss their opinions and differences, and still be able to walk away with respect at the end of the day. The world we live in is not the world as depicted by the internet.
The media is quick to blame whatever scapegoats they can for the tragedy du jour. Which is not to say that the death and destruction – caused by nature, caused by selfishness, caused by evil people – are any less real or devastating. But the outpouring of local support for the victims is often lost or overlooked in the 24-hour news cycle. These are the people making the difference. They are the blue-collar workers rebuilding houses and clearing streets after hurricanes. They are the armed citizens keeping their loves ones safe and courageously facing the wolves that prey among the helpless. They are the countless volunteers that are serving and educating their communities, making them stronger, smarter, and more prepared to help themselves and others.
The civic duty that calls many to service is often thankless and unrecognized, yet necessary in sustaining a free society. In a world full of keyboard commandos, the real heroes are the every day folks rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty to make the places they live better for everyone.
I’m sure many of you have felt the same as me over the last 12 months. The desire to breathe after eight years of oppressive constitutional erosion has caused me to take a step back and focus on my family, my community, and enjoy the freedoms we all fought to protect. Yes, the victory in 2016 was monumental. There was a turning point on the federal level, a rejection of the liberal agenda. But the real work has only just begun. And if anything, we are seeing the backlash against conservative values only intensifying.
The shrill cry for civilian disarmament has a new voice among an overlooked segment of the population: non-voting minors. Groups like MDA and Everytown spread lies in the name of “common sense gun safety,” but most recently the gun prohibition lobby has allied with students to visit Tallahassee and march in Washington on March 14. It would seem such demands are not falling on deaf ears, as many legislators consider importing unconstitutional gun-control restrictions from states like California and New York. Strangely, such places that diminish the rule of law would like to see more laws against peaceful Americans. Freedom-loving citizens need to stay engaged with their representatives and let them know where we stand. Nobody is debating that our children don’t matter. But we live in a dangerous world that increasingly devalues human life. It is up to us to uphold the dignity and rights of the individual and call for real common-sense reforms that would allow us to defend our schools the same way we defend our homes, our banks, our places of worship, and our lawmakers.
While we are not a nation divided against violence, we are a nation divided on the solution. One side thinks that laws and restrictions on the law abiding will make evil people passive and compliant. The other side recognizes evil and is willing to face it. Now more than ever, we must make ourselves heard. Please call your state and federal Congressmen. If you are a voting member, contact the NRA. Let them know what you value, where you stand, and what you are willing to fight for. We are a nation of individuals, and individual effort on the local level makes a world of difference. Now is the time to take those local voices and elevate it to the national stage. Make your representatives work for you, tell them to enable you to do the work necessary at home.
Stay engaged. Stay active. The next generation of Americans is depending on it.