Photo courtesy of Doug Mills/The New York Times
In the latest round of, cowardice, or “We appreciate your votes during the election, but we must serve our campaign financiers”, the senate dropped the ball on passing important gun control policies which would have forced background checks for online and gun-show sales and also voted against checks to screen out would-be gun buyers with mental illness.
Nobody ever disputed that criminals will continue to steal guns from law abiding citizens or gun stores. This legislation was never aimed at controlling our drug and gun culture from possessing guns, but their violence is mainly kept within their own neighborhoods as gang and drug war violence begats more violence among themselves.
The legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers, a ban on assault weapons and a ban on high-capacity gun magazines all failed to get the 60 votes needed under an agreement between both parties.
Many commentaries and news reports over the past month have claimed that gun control is a complicated issue and makes for tough politics. Talk about glossing over the obvious!
The only issue at hand for the senators who refused to support gun control bills is money.
According to Gabrielle Giffords recent Op-Ed in the New York Times, “These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending.”
Opponents of gun control from both parties said that they made their decisions based on “logic, and that passions had no place in the making of momentous policy.”
“Criminals do not submit to background checks now,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa. “They will not submit to expanded background checks.”
Senator Chuck Grassley (R) from Iowa is the same coward who told the USDA to withdrawal its support of Meatless Monday because it upset the National Cattlemen Beef Association.
Sorry Chuck, but this legislation had nothing to do with preventing criminals from stealing guns. Criminals aren’t interested in laws by nature, so they don’t really care what legislation you pass. The intent of the proposed laws were very clear.
As Giffords elaborated, “They looked at these most benign and practical of solutions, offered by moderates from each party, and then they looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby — and brought shame on themselves and our government itself by choosing to do nothing.”
So once again, our elected officials in Washington are pointed the way with 90% of Americans supporting gun control legislation. Americans wanted to send a message that we value safer communities and we don’t want mentally ill people obtaining guns.
Elected officials turned their backs on Americans and sided with corporate monied interests.
Recent polls also show 70% of Americans say we are heading in the wrong direction. Well, when the leaders of our nation completely ignore the people they claim to serve, then of course we are heading in the wrong direction and they deserve their 86% disapproval rating.
In her editorial to the New York Times, former Senator Gabrielle Giffords is still optimistic that elections can turn around our country – we’re not so sure. Our democracy has been bought up by monied interests and until the money is removed from the system, we don’t think anything will change.
As Ms. Giffords pointed out:
They will try to hide their decision behind grand talk, behind willfully false accounts of what the bill might have done — trust me, I know how politicians talk when they want to distract you — but their decision was based on a misplaced sense of self-interest. I say misplaced, because to preserve their dignity and their legacy, they should have heeded the voices of their constituents. They should have honored the legacy of the thousands of victims of gun violence and their families, who have begged for action, not because it would bring their loved ones back, but so that others might be spared their agony.
In a word – cowardice.
According to Abraham Lincoln, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”
As long as these men and women place money above doing what is right for the people they serve, they will remain cowards.