A few days ago, I wrote my first diary on Daily Kos. Despite nearly a decade of reading posts and occasionally commenting, I'd never felt compelled to write a diary until my wife and I decided to create a petition calling for a repeal of the law banning the CDC from doing research that might advocate for restricting gun rights. We were ecstatic to see the diary receive dozens of recommendations and comments and equally excited to see our petition get the support of over 1,000 people in less than two full days.
Soon after we started the petition, President Obama announced that he was in fact going to fund the CDC to do exactly the kind of scientific research proposed in the petition, which is obviously incredibly affirming, even if it means that pursuing the goal of getting 25,000 signatures now seems unnecessary. That said, there may be at least some value in supporting petitions that advocate for stiffer gun laws and more effective gun research, if only to make it clear to our elected officials and to the wider public that common-sense gun policies have wide support (especially when there are petitions calling for the impeachment of Andrew Cuomo for passing stronger gun laws).
It was incredibly gratifying to watch as the signatures mounted on the petition website and to see the names of people from across the country sign on in support, but it may have been even more rewarding to tap into the community here at Daily Kos and to see dozens of intelligent people expressing support and even adding other reasons why the ban is so harmful. This post isn't intended as a victory lap--we still have a long way to go to pass meaningful legislation that will make all of us safer from gun violence--but instead it reinforces for me the real power of leveraging social media for political change.