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Photograph from Politico

Dear Representative Tenney,

Let’s get honest with each other for a second: there’s been a lot of stupid shit said in the wake of the massacre in Parkland, Florida.

Benjamin Kelly, an aide to State Representative Shawn Harrison, claimed that two students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were “actors that travel to various crisis when they happen.”  That’s crazy, right?  What kind of partisan monster would make that sort of statement?

Rush Limbaugh — admittedly, not a source of rational discourse in the best of times — characterized student activists this way: “Everything they’re doing is right out of the Democratic Party’s various playbooks.  It has the same enemies: the N.R.A. and guns.”  Why even try to make that argument?  Why, instead of listening to what these individuals, who have lived through unimaginable tragedy and fear, have to say, would someone immediately try to silence them?

What do you think?

Are they trying to politicize tragedy?

Are they deeply, deeply afraid that our country is finally going to confront one of its central failings?

Are they sweating the possibility that this young generation, now reaching voting age, isn’t going to put up with this “thoughts and prayers” crap any longer?

Perhaps, now, you’re wondering: why am I addressing this to you?

Well, there are, from 2016, about 5,950 reasons why.  That’s the amount of money you accepted from the NRA during your 2016 election bid.

But, more immediately, there’s this thing you said on February 21.  Brace yourself, congresswoman — it’s kind of nuts.  You said, “It’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats.”

Now, I don’t want to make this a contest, but, man, that’s a wild thing to say.  Especially, ESPECIALLY, when, offered the opportunity to clarify that statement, you said, “I am fed up with… liberals attempting to politicize tragedies.”

Which is, of course, exactly what you were doing.

So let me take a minute to try to try to talk your language, to put my feelings into the kind of phrasing you seem to revel in.  And if it scares you that I might be trying to “politicize a tragedy,” well, suck it up, buttercup: in the face of tragedy, we must think, we must speak, and we must act.

I’m fed up with you, and people like you, trying to demonize hard-working Americans who want a safer world for their children.

I’m fed up with you, and people like you, trying to silence those who wish to debate the supposed right to own semi-automatic assault rifles, trying to use slander to strip us of our first amendment rights.

I’m fed up with you, and people like you, putting your campaign finances ahead of the lives of children.

I’m fed up with you, and people like you, turning tragedy into farce and genuine concern into conspiracy.

I’m fed up with you, and people like you, whining that every attempt to talk about the possibility of sensible regulations for firearms is one tiny step away from total surrender to a totalitarian regime.

And I’m not alone.

There are tens of millions just as fed up as I am.

We’re protesting.  We’re demanding an audience.  We’re going to vote in November.

And I don’t believe that another $5,950 from the NRA is going to be enough to save your job.



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