This has not been a good week.
What I had hoped would bring promise as a healing moment has turned into a pissing contest.
It took President Obama to put the events of the past several days into proper perspective. To my mind, the words that best resonated at the service in Tucson are in his tribute to a little girl. A very special nine-year-old, mind you. Nevertheless a person of far greater maturity, character, and purpose than many adults who daily attempt to influence American way.
She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted. I want to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it.
Let’s compare that hopeful image with what the “adults” have actually been saying since last Saturday’s event:
Peter King (Congressman and Chairperson of the Homeland Security Committee) announced that he will introduce legislation that would make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official, Give us all a break. How self-serving can a (elected) person be? That makes it okay to bring a gun to a school board meeting. How often do we read about a school incident in which an administrator or teacher has been targeted by a gun-wielding nut? Or to college campuses (after all, think Va Tech massacre). National parks–of course. Never know when a visitor might be attacked by Bambi.
Like a law that would have forewarned a violent nut-job not to bring a gun to a public meeting place would certainly have halted Loughner in his tracks (‘Let’s see, perhaps I should not have brought my Glock with me this morning . Instead, what thoughtful and enlightening question might I pose to Cong. Giffords on this beautiful day?’)
Had Cong. King not been a gunrunner, supporting terrorist Noraid (which, in turn, supplied bomb material to the IRA) maybe I’d look at his stupidity from a more admirable perspective. Nah, not really.
Representative Louie Gohmert (Texas, of course) is drafting a measure to allow members of Congress to carry guns in the District of Columbia, including in the Capitol and on the House floor.
Gohmert says he and his colleagues need to be able to protect themselves, in light of the mass shooting in Arizona.’ There’s another elected official to revere as a role model for nine-year-olds like Christina Green. Meanwhile the President spoke to the hearts and minds of Americans, ‘rallying our country to use this moment to reflect on the nation’s behavior’.
Surely Cong. Pete Wilson (Texas, natch) should be enabled to bring a gun to the floor, perhaps finding it a reasonable alternative to screaming, ‘You lie’, during a State of the Nation speech. And, Cong. Chaffetz (Utah) and Shuler (North carolina) should tote semiautomatics into the Capitol.
That would really resonate with Christina, I’m sure. In a country that makes it easier to get a gun license than a drivers license, who might quibble with a teacher carrying a concealed weapon–just in case? She would reject the congressmen’s arguments quicker than the would the Supreme Court.
Nothing like an American crisis to bring out the best in our Congress. This, most certainly, will raise opinion polls consistently showing that Americans view Congress as a dysfunctional body.
Somewhat lower down the list is Sarah Palin–the semi-literate who quit as governor half way through her term so she could make a ton of money, whip the uninformed into frenzies, and place cross hairs on opponents. Quite the role model.
Here’s where I am going with this rant:
1. The Supreme Court has decided that Americans’ second amendment rights to own a gun is the law of the land and will remain so. Someone needs to reframe the argument (someone with greater national clout than Carolyn McCarthy) in terms of the 21st century, comparing a musket to a Glock, hunters to police and military. Now where might we find someone not owned by the ‘slippery slope’ NRA who is risking his/her political career to do the right thing? May have to begin looking among nine-year-olds who get it.
2. Writing laws aimed at preventing irrational people from doing irrational things strikes me as irrational. Is expecting this country’s highest elected officials to serve as role models for little children, hormone-driven teenagers, and mature adults expecting too much?
President Obama calmly and eloquently beseeches us all to ‘talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.’ I respect him greatly as a compassionate person, a devoted father and husband, and the elected leader of our nation. I would want Barack to tell me that I am doing the right thing as a role model, as a friend, as a husband and grandfather, as a caring and grateful American.
I’m trying. Believe me, I’m really trying. Easier said than done. They make it really, really hard.
Your replies, responses, rants, are awaited.