What Matters?

It doesn’t make any difference who wins the election.  Nothing is going to change.  The guys with the money call the shots.  They’re all the same.  Why bother.

Nothing we do will make a difference.  The game is rigged.  Don’t waste my time.

If Sanders wins, so what?  He can’t do anything.  The Republicans will just oppose everything he wants to do just like they did with Obama.

Sanders is too extreme.  Congress will never go along with what he wants to do.  At least Clinton knows how to talk to the Republicans.

Those college kids who are making such a big fuss about Sanders have no idea about the real world.  They don’t vote, anyway.

Heard any of these?

How do you respond?  Do you try to talk issues?  Do you get into the mechanics of campaign finance reform?  Explain about private prisons?  Dodd-Frank? Do you haul out Sanders plan for free tuition?

How’s that working out for you?

People who don’t care – well, they don’t care.  They have no hope.  People who think nothing can change don’t yet see why things have to change.  And people who think that the status quo is better than fighting the battles a Sanders’ win will bring don’t yet understand the consequences of not fighting those battles.

Ask these people what matters to them.  Forget politics.  Ask these people what it is that they care about.

Do they have wives?  Do they have children?  If they have wives and children, do they want them in harm’s way?  Do they care about that?

Well, of course they care about that!

Really?  How much do they care about that?

That’s a stupid question!  They care bunches about that!  Oodles!  They do everything they can to keep their wives and children or their husbands and children safe.

How many guns are there on your street, in your apartment building? How many assault rifles within a block of your six-year-old’s school?  Does that make you feel safe?

There’s nothing I can do about that!


We’re never going to have gun control.  The NRA has the politicians scared.

So then you’re ok with your son and daughter walking past all those buildings with all those guns.

I didn’t say that!

But you don’t want to do anything either.

There’s nothing to do!  I’m one person!  What the hell is there to do?

Well, to start with, if the NRA wasn’t lobbying congress, gun control would be an easy win.  Without the NRA pouring money into politician’s pockets, an assault weapon ban could be back on the books in no time.

That will never happen.


The NRA isn’t going away.

Of course not.  But if it were illegal for them to make campaign contributions, that wouldn’t matter.

Never happen.

And you don’t think your family’s safety is important enough to even try?

What part of “I’m just one person” do you not understand?

But you’re not one person.  You are one of millions of people – or you could be.  Millions of people who are willing to say that their families matter, that their communities matter.  Millions of people who are working to make things safer and better for their children and their children’s children.  You are only one voice if you choose to be.  You’re only helpless if you refuse to act.

Emotions are running high today over the killings in our country which will not cease.  We watch congress do nothing because they are bought and paid for by the gun lobby.  Every incident brings the violence closer to another community.  There is a feeling of frustration and resentment.

And yet the answer is very clear.

Enact common-sense gun legislation.  To do that you have to eliminate the opposition to it in the form of the gun lobby and their influence on our elected officials.

And to do that you have to have get the money out of politics.

That’s what Bernie Sanders insists we must do.

He doesn’t say that because he wants to be president.  He says that because it’s necessary to keep families safe.

The political revolution isn’t just about electing a president.  It’s about getting millions of people to stand up for what they care about the most.   Getting money out of politics isn’t an end in itself; it’s the mechanism by which we take back sanity in government.   It is the first step in providing for the safety of all our citizens.

Not a single Republican candidate offers any hope of making America safer from gun violence.  Republicans just voted to allow terrorist suspects to buy guns.  Republicans have no answers.  They are a large part of the problem.

Electing Bernie Sanders president will not insure an end to gun violence.  He is also one man.

But electing Bernie Sanders as a president leading millions of vocal, active, committed political revolutionaries will insure an America that addresses the issue squarely and decisively.  Millions of committed, active, vocal Americans can change things at the state level at the same time.

Seeing millions of active, vocal Americans can give hope back to those who have lost it and think nothing can ever change.

Hillary Clinton might win an election.  Hillary Clinton could never lead  millions to a political revolution which could demand an end to the status quo.  Bernie Sanders will do that.

If we do nothing, the shootings will continue.  They will eventually make it to your city, to your neighborhood, to your six-year-old’s school.  That’s the status quo.  That’s what doing nothing leaves you with.  You can have that.  Just do nothing and you can have that.  If that’s what you want.

People have to decide what matters.

That’s the question I would ask.

What matters?


Roger A. Shipley - The Willowbrook Curmudgeon

Roger Shipley, AKA The Willowbrook Curmudgeon, spent forty years teaching in the American educational system and emerged a grumpy old man. Ensconced in the Pacific Northwest, he writes, carves, and chides people for bad grammar. You can also find his grumblings at The Curmudgeon's Lair or follow his nonsense on Twitter or Face Book

3 thoughts on “What Matters?

  • Avatar
    December 5, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Well argued, Roger. Hopelessness, defeatism, and apathy are, unfortunately, contagious – just as hope, determination, and passion are contagious.

    Always, always remember: Hopelessness and despair are among the most powerful tools at the disposal of the robber barons and the plutocrats. If they can get into our heads, or into enough of our heads, with their message of “Give up, it’s a lost cause, forget about it already”, then they will have won by default – by persuading us to defeat ourselves. Same thing goes for encouraging us to fight among ourselves, on the basis of race, class, religion, culture, etc.

    Bernie is right: When we are united (and determined), NOTHING can stop us!

  • Avatar
    December 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    “…not insure an end…”

  • Avatar
    December 7, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks for pointing that out.
    Insure vs ensure: the same? “Some stylebooks say yes, and some say no…There are some newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times and The New Yorker, that still use “insure” in both instances, but it’s fairly archaic to do so.” – Writers Digest Stylebook I am archaic… and old.

Leave a Reply