What would you call a person who spends days on end going from one senator's office to another to advocate for a piece of legislation? If he is paid by a company, you'd call him a lobbyist. If he's doing it out of passion, your response probably depends on whether or not you agree with him.
Families of children killed at Newtown are in Washington, D.C., this week, talking to members of the Senate to encourage them to vote in support of the package of new gun restrictions that will be considered next week. Politico reported on how they're hoping to change minds:
[T]he families have a rule against staff-only meetings: They won’t do them. They insist on sitting down with the senators themselves.
That rule is just one of the ways that the Newtown families, political novices just a few months ago, are proving to be savvy, effective advocates as they promote the gun legislation that has finally begun to move through the Senate. … With access to money and media, they’re using persistence, visibility — and, most all, their unique moral authority — to help prod Senate action. They also have their own lobbyists — several of them, in fact.
Politico outlines how the parents are working with various groups to set up meetings with senators, groups like Mike Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the centrist Democratic group The Third Way. But the headline for the article significantly shrinks the distance between the family members and the people paid to shepherd them around the Hill. "Newtown families: Victims turn lobbyists."
Some conservatives who presumably oppose new firearms restrictions quickly jumped on that blurred line:
Conservative filmmaker Pat Dollard wrote a blog post titled, "Newtown Families Using Their Dead Children as Political Props to Promote Gun-Control Propaganda."