AUGUST 1, 2011
We all watched the stunning debt crisis drama unfold, with a President and a congress moving toward the congressional vote and its outcome on August 2nd, 2011. It was impossible not to see or hear the threats hourly of potential disaster for our nation world wide as the date approached. The media, cell phones, the radio, cable news 24/7 and on the internet were non stop. Our response probably was to distance ourselves from the emotional content as threat and intimidation prevailed whenever we tuned in. We watched as expert after expert, politician after politician warned the other party of their failure to fix the situation, while it seemed our future lay in the balance of this debt crisis.
For some, the repetition and emotional content escalated to a point where we disengaged. Of course, a non response becomes a response really, but serves us when in a state of helplessness and powerlessness. We were spectators at a political brawl. It was like watching a hair pulling bar fight from people you’re relying on to keep sane, -like seeing two dignified people in suits & tie loose themselves to the furor of the moment. Days dragged on. Dire and hostile comments continued. A President we saw getting more gray hair before our very eyes.
CSPAN showed us the milling around of people on the congressional floor as it all continued. Then in the midst of the gloom and doom without announcement really, there was suddenly an opening. A few people turned to someone who had entered and was now seen. There she was, the congresswoman from Arizona, smiling. Her first public appearance since being shot in a shopping center where others were killed by a constituent who came with a gun.
At her side was her astronaut husband Mark Kelly. More people were now seeing she was there and even from the grainy CSPAN picture, you could see the spirit and the feeling of the people on the floor lifted several levels above where it had been. Senator Giffords was there because she insisted on on having the vote of the people she represented as their congresswoman count. Only Debbie Wasserman, also of Arizona and Nancy Pelosi were aware she would be on the congressional floor for that hour of voting.
She raised her hand as the stirring of her colleagues turned toward her as they became aware of her presence,and waved. Then the murmur of her presence became a roar from all the people in the hall. Republicans, democrats who seconds before held themselves to harsh polarizations, threats and defense now moved toward the her small elegant frame. Tears came down the faces of so many. Gabby was a portrait and a reflection of all that is alive and cannot be extinquished regardless of the strife, the acrimony, the pain and the gun.
Her soft strength impacted one and all and many of us at home who happened to be watching TV found ourselves weeping. Weeping for the celebration of her return to the floor of congress after her life threatening assault; weeping at the miracle of seeing how each congress person around her was no longer their identity or their party position, but a human being rejoicing in the face of the courage and real strength of this delicate and insurmountably present congress woman Gabby Giffords.
Gabby reminded the nation of who we are and what we value by her mere presence and her tremendous fight to return to herself, to her job and to the people of this country. That was a moment, a time to see what we truly value and what really sustains our lives in this moment of truth on the congressional floor. She brought the congress and the nation to a level of humanity, a return to who we are.
Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly continue their work on gun control legislation, worked with the families of Newtown, Sandy Hook. She stood with the President on the gun control bill that failed. In her very posture, even at the disappointment of a bill that would make guns less accessible to those who would and do harm, her strength prevails. She and Mark Kelly continue on with their unrelenting pursuit of guns registration and responsible gun registration through their grassroots organization: Americans for Responsible Solututions. A frontrunner always, her presence a gift and a reminder always of the strength of character that reminds us all of what is possible and worthy of our passion.