Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility. So Is Taking Out the Trash, Mich -- Michelle? Can You Hear Me?

01/13/2016 03:25 pm ET Updated Jan 13, 2017
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washingt
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

THE epidemic of gun violence in our country is a crisis. Gun deaths and injuries constitute one of the greatest threats to public health and to the safety of the American people. Indeed, other issues seem to pale by comparison. But that doesn't make them any less valid, whether it's tax reform, immigration, or taking out the trash, Michelle -- are you reading this?

The trash can is overflowing again. As you know, I've been dealing with it even on the odd-numbered days, which are supposed to be your days. But whenever I mention it, you just mumble about children needing to move more and then high-knees away.

A national crisis like this demands a national response. A domestic (and I mean household, not nation-wide) crisis demands a domestic (why does this word mean two such different things?) response. Reducing gun violence will be hard. Reducing the amount of trash in our house will be easy. The trash bin is right outside the back door. You just have to follow the bright yellow arrows I glued to the walls that say "MICHELLE! THE TRASH!!" on them. Some of the arrows also have a photo of me, your loving and patient husband, looking very tired and sad, probably from taking out all that trash.

It's clear that common-sense gun reform won't happen during this Congress. But common-sense-trash-take-out reform can happen literally right now.

We all have a responsibility as a part of this family. This includes you, Michelle, especially since you insist that this is a matriarchy, which, actually, I agree. You have more sway over Sasha and Malia. You could easily beat me in a wrestling match. You don't have to mention that to every Congressman you meet.

On Tuesday, I announced new steps I am taking within my legal authority to protect the American people and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. That was the same Tuesday that you said you "forgot" to take out the trash because The Bachelor was on. The Bachelor airs on Monday nights, Michelle. I CHECKED.

All of us have a role to play -- including you. I know you already birthed Sasha and Malia from your power womb; I am forever grateful. They are amazing, and yes, I do not have a womb nor have I ever experienced the pain of childbirth. I hear you. All I'm saying is that it would be great if you could take out the trash every other day so that I don't have to do it all the time.

All of us need to demand leaders brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby's lies. All of us need to stand up and protect our fellow citizens. All of us need to contribute on odd-numbered days like we promised a long time ago.

Change will be hard. It won't happen overnight. But securing a woman's right to vote didn't happen overnight. The liberation of African-Americans didn't happen overnight. But this can and must happen overnight. If it doesn't, the trash will overflow by noon tomorrow. We've gone over this, Michelle.

Those moments represent American democracy, and the American people, at our best. Meeting this crisis of gun violence will require the same relentless focus, over many years, at every level. I have done this with you about the trash. If we can meet this moment with that same audacity, we will achieve the change we seek, except that I have not been able to do this with you and the trash, which makes no sense to me because it is seriously so easy to do. (Remember the arrows, Michelle.)

If we do this, we will leave a stronger, safer country to our children. I'm talking about Sasha and Malia, our two beautiful daughters. They deserve to live in a country where the trash is--you know what, forget it. It's nearly midnight. I'll just take it out.

But please, America. Let's deal with the gun control issue.

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The words in bold are quotes from President Obama's original op-ed titled "Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility," which can be found here in the New York Times.