In the wake of deadly semi-automatic mass shootings last week in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, we have a choice once again, individually and as a nation, to respond with compassion, strategy and courage, or with fear, denial and cowardice.
As the week progressed, I saw plenty of swirl among pundits and politicians and wondered how we can rise above this, and who can lead us to real solutions. Then, yesterday, that leader emerged.
In a swift and strategic response to these tragic events, Elizabeth Warren has released a sweeping plan to reduce gun deaths by 80% in our nation. Her plan acknowledges this as a public health crisis and reminds us that we have past success we can build upon, such as increasing road safety.
I am curious to see how the next week of news cycle will unfold. Will we start reporting on real plans and have real dialogue? Or will there be more verbal sleight of hand, particularly by conservative pundits who have been going out of their way to manufacture a connection, or oddly explain that there is not a connection, between democrats and the Dayton shooter? They are doing this out of fear and denial to deflect blame, because of the clear connection between Trump’s rhetoric and policies to the El Paso killer.
This summer I had the pleasure of hearing Warren speak in Chicago. She impressed me with her clarity of vision, commitment to structural/real change, and her contagious energy. I was even moved to tears a few times by dawning appreciation that she is a regular person who was drawn to politics late in her life for all of the right reasons, to fight for us and our futures. I was sitting with someone who knows Warren personally, so I asked her what she thought about her. She said, “I have seen her socially through the years, at small dinner parties and big social gatherings, and I will tell you this, Elizabeth Warren is always the smartest person in the room.” This struck me forcibly because the woman I was talking to is incredibly smart herself.
Since seeing Warren in Chicago, I have been observing Warren’s performance in the debates, rising poll numbers, and commentary on her “monster” ground game in swing states like Nevada. But at this moment, what impresses me most is her positive and strategic leadership in response to the shootings. She is offering a solid path to solving real problems. Isn’t that what we want and deserve from our leaders? And if we want to solve hard problems, don’t we want to be led by the smartest person in the room?
Tidbits and follow-ups: