By Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings
Today I muse gratefully, joyfully and angrily.
I muse gratefully as I look around my house and see unwashed dishes in the sink, Converse and Birkenstocks on the floor, a lacrosse stick propped up against the wall. I know my teenage daughters are sleeping in their beds. They are home, they are alive, they sleep soundly at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
Today I muse joyfully as I read one of my most cherished books, “The Constitution of the United States of America.” One of my favorite parts is Amendment XXVII which was ratified July 1, 1971 when I was a mere eight years old and Richard Nixon was in office. I recall so joyfully being from Massachusetts where we celebrated being the only state who did not vote for “Tricky Dick,” the president for whom our current appears to have much in common. We’d been McGovern supporters and my mother relished in the bumper sticker, “Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts,” the bumper sticker that was popular in the Bay State after Nixon’s departure. And even though I was eight, I knew my Grandmother Footit watched obsessively those Watergate trials as closely as others watched General Hospital. She was hooked. And I muse joyfully that she was.
Amendment XXVII reads,
“The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United Sates or any state on account of age.”
And I muse joyfully that today, as I attend the March for Our Lives event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, I will be surrounded by future voters, by soon to be 18 year olds filled with life and promise. I muse joyfully that I can celebrate my Grandmother Footit shushing my eight year old self as she followed the political events of 1972 and encouraged me not by her words but by her actions.
Today I celebrate and muse joyfully on the first amendment to the US Constitution:
“Congress shall make no law respecting on establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. “
What astonishingly wonderful words to know, to cherish, to live.
Finally, I muse angrily. I am angry at New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu who exudes all that is astonishingly revolting in our Republican leaders today. I quote the page where Sununu smiles broadly, on the NRA-ILA website as it reads,
“Today, in a private signing ceremony, Governor Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 12 into law. Similar legislation had been vetoed by former Governor Maggie Hassan for two years in a row, but thanks to your active involvement, law-abiding gun owners will now be able to carry their firearms without a required permit in the state of New Hampshire! This law goes into effect immediately. Please take the time to thank your state legislators for passing this important legislation and Governor Sununu for signing it into law.”
That was February 22, 2017. Ridiculous. Alas, it is no wonder Sununu has an “A” rating from the NRA.
And I muse angrily but gratefully I can channel that anger into action. I’ve written Sununu with the following:
As a high school teacher I’d really like to teach my subject matter rather than spend countless hours planning escape routes. I understand completely the need for preparation; however, I’d rather spend my energy focused on getting mass shootings to become as foreign to our country as smoking in restaurants, as driving without seat belts. I am entirely looking forward to truly educating our communities about the insanity of the NRA, to using the power of the vote in November and to writing and communicating with legislators and leaders that the misunderstanding of the 2nd Amendment must stop. We once thought nothing of having dogs roam the streets without leashes and owners, we once thought nothing of not having sports teams for girls, we once thought nothing of drinking and driving. It is time we changed the narrative about guns. Now.
And today, I muse gratefully, joyfully and angrily as I head out to face the world. I invite you, InDepthNH.org readers to join me today at the March for Our Lives wherever you are. I will be providing pictures and video to bring you to Portsmouth, to share what I see, what I learn, who I meet. And I am grateful for our wonderful country, for our freedom of speech and press and right to gather peacefully.
Muse today in your own special way; I’m going to wash those dishes, pick up those shoes and move that lacrosse stick – entirely grateful that today they are here along with my soon to be voting age daughters.
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, writes “Joyful Musings” for InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.