"What's in a Name?"

Women, their names, and the stories they tell

Your Name Is Your Voice: Use It or Lose It

Silence is a vote for the status quo.

Americans are notoriously apathetic about democracy. Forty percent or more of us don't usually bother to vote. If we can't be bothered to vote, you can imagine how many of us bother to let our elected officials know what we think about issues we are concerned about—like gun control. Our representatives  base their votes on what they hear from their constituents. If they only hear from the most radical proponents of an issue, they don't have an accurate view of what their constituents think. Government representatives also know that the people who contact them are the people who vote.


A recent ABC poll indicates that most Americans, including gun owners, favor stricter gun control. (Washington Post: "Most Support Gun Control," David Nakamura and Jon Cohen,1/15/13. If the majority of us don't speak out, our government representatives will only hear from the NRA and the most extreme gun advocates. No matter what your religious or spiritual persuasion, this is the time for most of us to make our voices heard by contacting our government officials and putting our names down as advocates for sensible gun control.

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Religious leaders across the country are calling on their flocks to contact their government officials. Rev. Gary Hall, Dean of the National Cathedral, asks all people of conscience to contact their local officials to ask for 1) a clear ban on assault weapons and large rounds of ammunition, 2) tighter control on gun sales, 3) mental health care reform, including improved care for our most vulnerable citizens, 4) a critical look at our country's glorification of violence. Click here to see the message and to contact your representatives.

Records dating back to 1979, when they were first kept, indicate a kid is shot and killed in the U.S. on average once every three hours. On average, one person is shot and killed in the U.S., more than once an hour of every day. You can add another 25,000 dead loved ones per year for suicides and those accidently killed by guns. The U.S. has 80% of the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined. If you don't contact your representatives, you are part of the reason we have these deadly problems.Non-action doesn't mean you aren't doing anything: non-action means you are allowing the violence to continue by not doing anything to stop it. If you could save a life with an email, would you do it? You can. Contact your representatives. Give them your name, make your voice heard, make a difference. Otherwise, accept the responsibility and the guilt for not doing anything to save lives.

Elisabeth Pearson Waugaman, Ph.D., teaches in the New Directions writing program of the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis. more...

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