top of page

We're still looking for the watershed moment, but maybe it's a watershed movement

On March 25, 1911, tragedy struck a clothing company in New York City: a fire, caused by careless smoking or matches or some combination thereof, consumed the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. The death total of 146 comprised mainly young women working for near-slave’s wages in a fire trap of a building whose doors were locked from the inside to prevent the women from stealing.With no escape route, many of them jumped ten stories to their deaths. The fire and its aftermath constituted a watershed moment: regulations instituted as a result protected American workers for the next seven decades, until Ronald Reagan removed the regulations and hung American workers out to dry. (Another story for another day.)

Still, seven decades of improvement is something to savor, and something to aspire to again. It took a watershed moment. So where is ours in the area of guns? It could have been Littleton or Aurora, but wasn't; Sandy Hook or Orlando, but wasn't; Las Vegas or San Bernardino, but wasn't.

I don’t know why we should even hope it will be El Paso and Dayton, but many think that this is a turning point. If they were seeking proof in Trump’s speech Monday morning, they found none. With his eyes half-closed and all the cold indifference of a hovering drone, Trump read the words written for him without ever drawing even the remotest connection between how his politics came to fruition in El Paso, and how his soulless immorality informed the murders in Dayton.

Nevertheless, if the president meets stiff protests today—if the voices of the people drown out his senseless drivel—then maybe it will mean something. The protests must be loud and raucous, and the participants must expect to be skewered by Fox News and the President's toadies—Conway, Nunes, Meadows, et al.—but nothing short of a thunderous, placard-filled, slogan-rich, apolitical demonstration will begin to negate the MAGA mentality and pierce its artificial armor.

In the end this is not about the NRA, or Facebook, or the Russians. We gave this guy the power and we can take it away. And if the revolution begins today, then we may not have a watershed moment, but we may have the clear beginning of a watershed movement, one that ends with the removal of Donald Trump.

25 views1 comment

1 Comment

I agree that our watershed moment could have and should have been Littleton and the others you mentioned. However, Parkland was an important, albeit, beginning watershed moment thanks to student activists and their supporters in organizing numerous chapters of MFOL. They have been successful in understanding components of our civic process: collaboration, networking, speaking truth to power, the use of social media, gun legislation, lobbying members of congress, and the role of dirty money in politics to name a few. More importantly, they have registered new voters around the country and continue to do so. Is it enough? No. Now we adults need to stand on their shoulders and continue the work.

bottom of page