As a political blogger, it would behoove me to begin my first post of the year with high hopes for what could be accomplished in Arizona’s legislature and in Congress. I should speak of political resolutions and ways citizens can become more involved in the process. I should do this, and maybe I will… another day. Today, however, I digress.
Today, I write about courage. Not the kind that happens in a moment’s notice when someone around you is in dire need and you rush to that person’s aide. That type of help is noble and needed and recognized as a courageous act. But the courage I want to recognize is the kind it takes to speak out when you know you will be attacked and when remaining silent isn’t just the easiest thing to do but the safest as well.
This is the courage I see in people like Roxanna Green and Gabrielle Giffords, two women who shared a major tragedy but from differing perspectives. One almost lost her life and is left with the scars, both physical and emotional, of a bullet that traveled through her brain. The other is left with the emptiness of a life cut short, a daughter murdered haphazardly by a sick individual.
These women were enveloped by the sympathies of an outraged nation. They were honored and embraced by Republicans and Democrats alike. But today, many in this country will no longer look at them with compassionate eyes or write about them with glowing words. Today, their motives are questioned, their character attacked.
Why? Because they dared to question the status quo. They dared to ask why. They dared to challenge this nation and ask for a serious conversation about violence in America and the possibility that gun control could help prevent tragedies like theirs.
For this, they are scorned. For a conversation, a question, a plea for answers.
And we wonder why Congress cannot solve this nation’s problems? We wonder why the big issues of the day are pushed to the brink of a cliff and left for the next set of lawmakers and the next election?
We don’t have to agree with Roxanna Green or Gabrielle Giffords. But what will it hurt to listen, respectfully, to what they have to say?
It’s easy to accept the sympathy of others. It takes courage to step outside of that safety net and put your self and your beliefs front and center on a national stage, knowing powerful people will condemn you.
That’s real courage. And that’s what we need more of in this country, from both our leaders and our citizens.