Fuck Your Thoughts And Prayers, Joe Barton!
Dear Joe Barton,
Hi, Congressman! Enjoying this warm, sunny day in DC? I bet you'll miss those cherry blossoms when you retire and head back to Texas next year. Or will you be staying here to earn that sweetsweet lobbying coin when you retire from the House? So cool that you'll have a pension and guaranteed access to health insurance for the rest of your life! Bet that's a big weight off your mind, huh?
Anyway, we've never met, but I'm just writing to let you know that you're a bad parent. Like, TERRIBLE actually. Now, I know what you're saying. How were you to know those photos of you naked and masturbating would leak to the press? This isn't about that. And it isn't about your dogged insistence on turning the earth into a boiling sewer of polluted sludge. Although I'm sure your four children will thank you when daytime temperatures in Texas start hitting 130 on the regular.
No, sir. I'm talking about the guns. I'm talking about this interview you gave to The Atlantic where you recounted your experience watching your 11-year-old son hide under a truck from a mass shooter at Congressional baseball practice last June. And I'm talking about how you decided that the best course of action would be to have a lot of "feelings" about it instead of changing any laws.
The shooter had two weapons, and he’d cease fire to reload or switch from his pistol to his semi-automatic rifle. In those silent seconds, Barton’s then 11-year-old son, Jack, would peek out from under the car where he was hiding. His father would frantically yell at him to get back down.
That must have been a terrible, traumatic experience, Sir. No parent and no child should have to go through that. I am so sorry for you and your son.
I'm a parent myself. In fact, our youngest children are the same age. Although I'm a heathen liberal still married to their father, not a family-values conservative like yourself. Maybe that's why I just can't understand your refusal to moderate your position on gun laws after watching a lunatic with access to powerful, semi-automatic weapons shoot at your own precious child. But the Lord and the NRA work in mysterious ways. I see the NRA still gives you an A rating! Too bad God doesn't issue annual report cards.
“In terms of feelings, I don’t think there’s a difference between a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican,” he said. “Regardless of your viewpoint, you’re just as upset. We care just as much. I can guarantee you that GOP members of the baseball team care.”
“We all want to do what’s right,” he added. “We just have different philosophical viewpoints.”
I guess we do have "different philosophical viewpoints," Congressman. I feel that the safety of our children is more important than some tortured interpretation of the Second Amendment that allows Americans to wander around carrying giant murder machines. But I'm a radical who thinks that even adults should be able to walk down the street without fear of being gunned down.
You feel that the police should be empowered to detain people who exhibit "warning signs." Not sure why you're so much more concerned about the Second Amendment than the Fourth. But I guess people like you and me don't have to worry about getting pulled over and strip-searched because police think we're exhibiting "warning signs."
Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you're calling your son every day now since the shooting. You don't seem to have updated your Twitter feed since your decision to retire, but I know you send thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Parkland shooting. It's the absolute least you could do, being a Congressman and all. But I'm sure we're all safer for it.
I know you're a religious man, sir. So I'll sign off with a verse from the Book of James.
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is good enough for the NRA and more valuable than the lives of 33,000 Americans per year.
Did I do that right? I'm Jewish, so sometimes I get confused with the New Testament. But I'm pretty good at math, LOL. So I feel confident when I say that our murder rate, at
16 [Edit] 5.3 per 100,000, is higher than Europe's of 3. So weird that fewer people get shot when access to guns is restricted!
Well, I know you're a busy man. So I'll just wish you good luck in your retirement, Congressman. I'll be in DC next month with my kids marching against gun violence, but I suppose I won't see you there. It's the very least I can do, not being an elected lawmaker like yourself. But at least I'm doing it.
Thoughts and Prayers,
Your Five Dollar Feminist
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.