You don't have to know much about guns to recognize that within us all lies an "inner compass" which, if permitted, can steer us toward what is right and what is wrong.
I know little about guns, more than I knew prior to December 14th, but still, little. What I do know, however, was that the defeat of the background check bill was wrong.
When I attended my first Newtown United (now Sandy Hook Promise) meeting 48 hours after the shootings, I made it quite clear that, if this group was to be solely focused on gun violence, it was not the organization for me.
My background is in parent education and wellness. Many would find my point of view too ambiguous, too amorphous. Sandy Hook Promise, however, welcomed my thoughts.
For me, it's about connection -- or lack thereof. Until we as individuals, as a nation, as a species, do some fine tuning of our inherent inner compasses and recognize both scientifically and spiritually that we are part of one big unit, episodes of extreme disconnect and violence will continue.
Till then, however, it helps to take baby steps. The background check proposal was a step -- towards what is right.
Like Obama said, Senators Toomey and Manchin did something rarely found in the ego fueled land of politics -- they conversed, they acknowledged each other's point of view, they compromised and they delivered a plan.
This was significant.
It's this approach, this recognition that in order to move forward we must talk with, rather than at, that is very present within The Sandy Hook Promise. I've seen little ego, little fear, much resilience, much awareness.
Obama gets this. There was no ego in his eyes nor in his voice during his powerful April 17 press conference. There was only sadness. If I could say one thing to President Obama I would tell him I am grateful for a president who is so evolved.
Many will laugh at this sentiment. Many will vehemently disagree. History has shown, though, that many of our most forward thinking leaders evoked strong fear and anger yet ultimately came to be remembered and revered for so much more. Gabby Giffords recognized this principle when she wrote:"Our democracy's history is littered with names we neither remember nor celebrate -- people who stood in the way of progress while protecting the powerful."
Our upbringings, our media and our politicians have desensitized us to fire and vitriol. Countless people exist in a "flight or fight" mode. Many of us grew up in overly authoritarian homes at the expense of ever having the opportunity to connect with their inner compass. No wonder so many are drawn to those who inspire feelings of fear and anger -- it's familiar.
I recently spent time with an avid gun enthusiast. He owns an impressive arsenal. He is also a parent of a seven-year-old child. Over the course of his six-day visit to our home, my husband and I listened to his feelings on issues such as firearms, government (which are strong and suspicious), second amendment rights and his childhood in Elk City, Idaho.
At one point he remarked how refreshing it was to have someone take the time to ask such questions. Usually, he said, folks are either "with him or against him."
He also shared boyhood recollections of his physically abusive and rage-filled father. Guns were one of the few ways they were able to connect. He independently made the connection between his tumultuous childhood and eventual passion for guns.
In time we were able to understand and appreciate his passion for guns -- a passion he deserves to enjoy as a responsible gun owner. We were also, through our mutually respectful dialogue, able to agree on right from wrong.
The senators who voted no could not even take the time to make this small connection with the majority of their fellow citizens. This lack of humanity will no doubt come to haunt them.
I may not know much about guns, but thanks to that "inner compass" I do know right from wrong. Luckily I was taught from early on to trust this source over any other. We all have it. The senators who voted 'no' chose to ignore theirs. It's time for the rest of us to make up for it.