At 4:15 am on Friday, March 23, my wife and I drove over and picked up my granddaughter Zoe, 22, and got her to the Des Moines airport for a 6:00 am direct flight to Washington DC to attend the March For Our Lives scheduled for that day. She was accompanied by her friend Madeline, 19. They went in on Friday to talk to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Leadership and to the staff of both Senator’s Grassley and Ernst.

I set up the ATF meeting because they are the regulator, and if Congress is to pass any gun legislation, the ATF will be in charge of implementation. It also seemed logical to get briefed on the possible implications for legislation and it’s impact. Before I retired, I owned an association management company and with that background was able to start an association for former and current ATF agents. I was proud to serve as their executive director until I retired.

In addition to the giant March For Our Lives in D.C., Des Moines had a March as well. Given the weather, it was surprising how many people turned out. In addition to Des Moines, hundreds of other cities across the nation also scheduled rallies and marches. For those of us 60 and older, this period is beginning to feel like the 60’s and the anti-Vietnam marches and protests of the day. The events of the 60’s did change American society and eventually changed the presidency and had a major hand in stopping the war.

I also remember the other side of the Vietnam issue as well. People called the marchers and protesters disloyal and un-American. On the gun issue of today, the gun advocates have already begun to try to make people believe that some of the protesters are not even students, but paid actors. At the end of the day, this will be a brutal political street fight between the far-right conservative gun supporters and thousands of 13 to 25 year olds who have found their voice on this issue. Although the winner of this battle is yet to be determined, at the end of the day I would not vote against my granddaughter Zoe and her friend Madeline and the millions like them.

This battle will not be won with one march or on one day. It will only succeed if it has staying power and creates election consequences. In Iowa, it looks like a two-pronged approach will be necessary, working the Iowa General Assembly and Congress. In both cases that will be tough, but necessary.

Over the years I learned that power rests with elected officials, but their power comes from the electorate and that takes a few election cycles for change to be felt. If the young protesters stay with it, some elected officials will change their minds, some will be defeated and some will stick to their guns and become a minority of folks on the other side. That is how democracy works and how change occurs.

For America, passing reasonable gun laws that reduce gun violence in American society is a defining issue for us in the 21st century.

 

by Dick Goodson
Photo via Flickr (people shown no relation to author)
Posted 3/27/18

4 thoughts on “My Granddaughter, The March And The Beginning Of Change

  1. Yes , Yes , common-sense or reasonable gun laws sounds good on the surface . One persons common-sense or reasonable ideas are not however in reality the same as the next person . So until some one in leadership or a group makes an equitable proposal the battle will go on . If the battle continues as it has there can only be a winner and loser, and there’s nothing EQUITABLE about that approach ! Common-sense in human history doesn’t come from biased crowds expressing anger at a wrong , but from a leader that looks for balance , equity , with the ability to convey that to the masses . Then with their help makes it happen politically . Thus everyone gets something and everyone gives up something ! It’s called in the end result COMPROMISE, something WE have forgotten as a country !!!

    1. Dear kwmjr,
      I do not disagree with your comments at all. For some 25 years I lobbied for a number of groups and although I got a number of things passed I never remember getting the whole loaf,t was all about compromise. That concept seems to have been lost. I hope we get it back.
      Dick

  2. Kudos to your granddaughter and her friend, Dick. They ARE the future of our country, and as I see them “activated” and motivated, I despair somewqhat less for us as a nation.

    I, too remember (and participated in) the marches and protests, and educate-ins during the ’60’s and early ’70’s. It was youth -driven, and we DID, as you point out, change the country in a fundamental way, I think. These kids will do the same. It WILL come from their activities.
    Ture, they, in and of themselve, aren’t going to pass laws or stop the violence to which we seem to hae become addicted – but their vcoices will do as ours did ‘way back when – get those who DO hold the reins of power to admit that there IS a problem. And I would hope that, as it did in my youth, bring people of good conscience and vision to the table…and effect real change. We need to change the country’s mindset; the status-quo will not cut any more, and these “kids” are doing just that by forcing ALL of us to confront serious issues.

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