Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Beginning of Something Wonderful

So this is the post that started last week's kerfuffle:

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Brownell on the last day of the NRA Annual Meeting, and despite him being terribly busy -- he'd just been elected President of the NRA and suddenly had to deal with with things like needing bodyguards -- he met with me and listened to me. I was impressed with his graciousness, and for taking the time to talk to me, a political nobody. He asked me to get back in touch with him in July, after he'd been sworn in and had time to get acclimated to his new position.

So earlier this month, I called the number on the card he'd given me. I wasn't surprised that I encountered one of his gatekeepers, because I never once expected that the man would give his direct line to someone he'd never met, and I was just happy to be able to ring his office. His secretary told me to call again on Monday at 4 pm.

So you can imagine my surprise when I received a telephone call at precisely 4 pm -- I swear, I think the clock just clicked over from 3:59:59 when it rang -- and it was his personal assistant calling to apologize because Mr. Brownell was busy, and would I mind waiting for him to call me in 15 minutes?

Heck yeah, I'll wait!

And so it transpired that the very busy Mr. Peter Brownell, CEO of Brownells Inc and NRA President, called ME, Schmucky the Wonder Clown, from his personal cell phone to ask for my thoughts on how to make the NRA more welcoming and inclusive to LGBTQ people.

We talked for 45 minutes.
 This very busy man spent three quarters of an hour asking me questions, listening (actually listening!) to my replies, asking follow-up questions and making suggestions on how to make his organization more inclusive.

I'm not at liberty to discuss the things we talked about, but I am confident that this is something he is committed to doing. In this month's "President's Column" of the various NRA magazines (this link is to American Rifleman), titled  "Second Amendment Belongs to All Americans, Regardless of Race, Creed or Gender", he said
"The Second Amendment belongs to every American. The freedom secured by the Second Amendment cannot be put asunder by any conceivable element of discrimination—not by color, race, age, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political ideology or national origin.

"This is the simple, direct message of the National Rifle Association to all Americans. I’m proud of our minority outreach efforts to date, but more work needs to be done. A central focus of my NRA presidency is to help the NRA be more inclusive than it’s ever been."
And those are just the first two paragraphs.

Now, I realize that these are just words, and actions are what matter. But I have full faith that Mr. Brownell does indeed want to make the NRA more inclusive and more welcoming to the LGBTQ community... because, you see, I have his telephone number and I'm not afraid to nag him until that happens.

Great things are going to happen!... or else. 

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