Friday, April 19, 2013

A Defeat For American Democracy; U.S. Senate Quashes Gun-Control Bill In An Act Of Cowardice


American Politics




Gabrielle Giffords: In her opinion piece, she writes about the actions of the cowardly senators: “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.”
Courtesy: Pamela Zuppo
Source: NYT

Aarticle, by Jonathan Weisman, in the New York Times spells out the failure of American democracy in the U.S. Senate's non-passage of  a fair and reasonable gun-control bill.

Weisman writes:
In rapid succession, a bipartisan compromise 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. Senators also turned back Republican proposals to expand permission to carry concealed weapons and to focus law enforcement efforts on prosecuting gun crimes.
Sitting in the Senate gallery with other survivors of recent mass shootings and their family members, Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot at Virginia Tech, and Patricia Maisch, a survivor of the mass shooting in Arizona, shouted together, “Shame on you.” President Obama, speaking at the White House after the votes, echoed the cry, calling Wednesday “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
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.”
It was a striking defeat for one of Mr. Obama’s highest priorities, on an issue that has consumed much of the country since Adam Lanza opened fire with an assault weapon in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
Actually, the NYT has not quite understood the importance of this bill's defeat. It's much more than a personal defeat for President Obama, as much as this is painfully true; it's a failure of Americana democracy. When the U.S. Senate failed to muster the courage to pass a reasonable, fair piece of legislation, for no rational reason, it revealed that it is now a chamber of ignorance, bought by special interests. I don't make this statement lightly.

Remember this day in history; it will become a day of shame, as President Obama intimated; the U.S. Senate, backed by powerful special interests, blocked sensible legislation to control hand-guns. The people's representatives failed in their mandate to act on the will of the people—in an act of extreme and exceptional cowardice—undermining the very foundations of democracy.

I would like to add one more opinion piece, written by Gabrielle Giffords, who knows intimately about gun violence. This is one of the best, most honest pieces I have read on the subject. Ms.Giffords captures my sentiments completely and whole-heartedly. This ought to be read by those cowards in the Senate, who voted against the best interests of the nation. Truly, shame on you. Here's an excerpt:
SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.

For The Record: The U.S. Senators Who Voted Against Gun Control.
Courtesy: Pamela Zuppo

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