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Jim Firth: There’s only one issue

My parents and grandparents were Republicans. They voted for Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan.

I remember my mom wearing an ‘I Like Ike’ button on her work uniform. I registered to vote as a Democrat in 1967.

I still voted for our Republican state senator because he was doing his job and was well respected by everyone.



I supported Robert Kennedy for President in 1968, and we all know how that turned out.

It’s time to make gun safety the single most important issue. It’s time to be a single-issue voter.

Over the years my candidate or issue of choice was not always the “winning one.”




Nonetheless I always voted. It’s my right, and my family, friends, and neighbors have fought, marched, and protested to ensure my right, and presumably every citizen’s right to vote for their representatives.

In 1964 and 1965 a series of laws made voting more accessible to many Americans. I hadn’t been aware of the seriousness of voter repression prior to those laws being passed.

I grew up in a different time — when communication wasn’t almost instantaneous, pictures weren’t available on a cellphone (there weren’t cellphones).

There were three television stations and AM radio had real news, not fake news.

There were three daily newspapers where I grew up, two in the morning and one in the afternoon.

In some ways I miss those days.

Now I can get “news” on my cellphone complete with pictures. I can see and hear what is happening almost anywhere in the world almost as it’s happening.

I can get an opinion on why it’s happening from just about any point of view that exists.

I can be overloaded with information anytime, anywhere, and it’s all at my fingertips.

In some ways I miss the old days.

Some days I feel the need to sit quietly and absorb all the information that swirls through my universe.

When the recent mass shooting took place in Roseburg, Oregon, I had to sit down.

The senselessness of this violence, the unnecessary accumulation of weapons by a mother and child, the lack of available mental health options, the frequency of this type of horrific shooting doesn’t make sense.

When I moved to this community it was suggested to me that I not discuss guns.

We need to talk about guns. We need to talk about gun safety.

We need to stop mothers and fathers and children from killing each other or strangers with guns.

Guns do kill people. People with guns do kill people.

I always vote. I will never vote for a representative again unless that person wants to end gun violence in my country.

It really doesn’t matter to me how that person might or might not feel about any other issue if he/she doesn’t want to help stop gun violence.

It’s time to make gun safety the single most important issue. It’s time to be a single-issue voter.

I would also like to share these ideas from a reader of the Guardian:

“How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion — mandatory 48-hour waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence …”

“Let’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.

“It makes more sense to do this with young men and guns than with women and health care, right? I mean, no woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, right?”

Jim Firth is chairperson of the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee. His opinions are his own, and not those of any organization.


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