Kids need us to be the adults

Dear President Trump,

Monday evening our daughter let me know she planned to take an unexcused absence and miss school on Tuesday because she and two friends were driving down to Olympia to participate in the rally urging lawmakers to pass gun control legislation. She was close to tears as she told me how angry she is that she has to care about this stuff now because the adults who were elected to represent the people have failed so miserably. She had much the same demeanor when we told me how disgusted she feels that guys her age don’t get how awful it is for girls to have to fend off or ignore sexualized commentary from random males. Underlying her disgust is a sense of incredulity that she or anyone else has to endure this kind of crap. She hasn’t said it quite this way, but her message is clearly along the lines of – what is wrong with this picture? Why are we still operating like it’s the Dark Ages on such fundamental issues of safety and respect?

When we were debriefing the trip at dinner last night, she said it was really interesting to see how the process of debating a bill worked. She also made a point of telling me she almost cried and that I would definitely have cried listening to the kids’ who testified about why they were there. She was impressed with them and their willingness and ability to speak up in that context and it was pretty great to see how genuinely happy she was for her peers. I know I’ve said things to this effect before, but she and her friends and the Parkland students and all the kids who are insisting that their lives matter and that they should be able to feel safe in their schools give me hope that we are eventually going to be ok. They are activated in ways I couldn’t have even imagined when I was their age (you too, I suspect). They are cutting through the B.S. and insisting that you all answer the real questions on camera – are you going to take money from the NRA? Are you going to prioritize profit over people? They are asking simple questions that are only hard to answer if you are on the wrong side of the moral divide. I feel proud of them and deeply humbled by them.

May we adults step up and keep all kids safe.
May we adults prioritize children’s sense of security and their happiness.
May we adults truly care for kids’ health.
May we adults accept that we can’t have it all ways ~ kids’ safety and unfettered gun access are fundamentally incompatible.

Tracy Simpson

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