Sarah Huckabee Sanders came out on Monday and said that now was not the time to talk about gun control.
Under normal circumstances, I would take this at face value to mean the administration wanted to serve as the comforter-in-chief to the nation to help families through their grief.
But the abdication of compassion from this administration is so absolute the only explanation is the Trump administration is trying to buy time to let this shooting, like so many others, blow over in the news cycle until peoples’ passions are no longer enflamed by another massive loss of life.
Now especially is the time to talk about gun control. We owe it to the victims. There is no reason to own a semi-automatic gun. If you want to justify owning a rifle to shoot deer for venison, fine, but don’t tell me you need a semi-automatic weapon or a high capacity magazine to hunt food for your family— their only purpose is to kill other human beings. They serve no purpose in a civilized society. We see the evidence all too frequently.
As a gay man with supportive, but also Trump-supporting family members, something I heard frequently during the campaign process was that Trump was actually a friend to the LGBT community, despite the clearly hostile record most of his senior staffers have on LGBT rights, or even on basic LGBT decency.
But as a member of the LGBT community, and someone who has been following politics for years, I also know the power of small signs, and the policy positions they are designed to indicate. And while Trump himself may not understand these subtleties, his chief advisors are Washington insiders, and if they know better than to send a major signal unintentionally.
Immediately after the inauguration was complete on Friday, the White House website was refreshed to represent the incoming administration and its goals, and to remove the Obama administration’s messaging and language. All as it should be.
What was noticeably absent after the page refresh was the White House policy pages for LGBT rights and HIV policy. Whitehouse.gov/lgbt now yields a 404 error, and a search for LGBT yields a the message “Sorry, no results found for ‘LGBT’. Try entering fewer or broader query terms.”
I’m not sure how much more I can broaden “LGBT,” or how much clearer the message could be here, but if you’re a member of the LGBT community or an ally, this is a clear message from the Trump White House: the homophobia of Trump’s advisors has overruled his formerly-cosmopolitan views.
We were all surprised by the results of the presidential election last week. After the initial shock, and concern over what the future might hold, I did some soul searching. I’ve always been interested in politics, but I got turned off by all of the fundraising, the continuous news cycle, the partisanship, and the obstructionism I was seeing at every level of government, from the President and the House down to the Ann Arbor City Council. Perhaps I waited too long to get involved, and I am embarrassed that it took the election of a man who flies in the face of decency to light the fire in me to try to make a difference, but here we are.
I, like many of you, see more and more absurdity every time I turn on the news or open up my Facebook feed. Acceptance of extreme ideas has become commonplace. So what One Drink, Two Drink, Red Drink, Blue Drink aims to do is heal through humor, calling out the absurdity with sarcasm, wit, and facts, and washing it all down with the occasional (read: frequent) stiff drink to help lubricate the discourse. We also aim to provide solutions, not just moaning out a sob story alone at the end of the bar, but motivating our readers to get out and affect change in the world. So we will be including actionable next steps at the end of of our columns.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time here looking at the election result. What’s done is done, and people who are imminently more qualified than I am will be writing their dissertations on the subject for years to come. I want to look toward the future. A future where both parties need reform. Democrats who have become elitist, complacent, and disconnected. Republicans who have become beholden to an extremist few. Party apparatuses geared more toward monied interest than governance. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, and we’re not going to get through this sober, so, here goes.