Like I said in my previous post, today was a good day to be a gun in America. The reactions from most decently minded citizens was one of disbelief more than anything:
Kirsten Gillibrand : W/90% support, it’s absurd that we were unable to summon the political will to pass universal background checks. The Senate truly is broken.
There was also the reaction from those watching from the Senate gallery:
Among those looking on from the gallery, Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot at Virginia Tech, and Patricia Maisch, a survivor of the mass shooting in Tucson, shouted, “Shame on you.” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who presided over the votes, then asked for decorum.
The urge to give into cynicism is strong right now. The system seems broken, doesn’t it? It feels broken. It seems like playing by the rules is the best way to lose. It seems that a small but hysterically loud minority has been allowed to have the run of the country, simply because it’s the loudest and shrillest voice in the room. Is there anything left to do, but wait for the current crop of conservatives to succumb to old age and hope that the playing field is more fair the next time around?
I say no. Never give into despair. Everyone except Fox News agrees that the conservative leadership in this country is on the verge of collapse unless it reforms. These are the last gasps of a desperate minority struggling to hold onto their power. For them, the stakes are high enough to go beyond the point of reason. There is no incentive to play fair at this point.
I do not believe that this will stand forever. With each blatant defiance of the public will, the tide turns against them more. Each action that these NRA-owned senators take that prioritizes the gun lobby over the will of the people will reveal them for what they are: sycophants of special interests.
Amid those voices protesting is Tucson’s own Gabby Giffords, who needs no introduction, calling for resolve in the face of despair:
Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was severely injured in the Tucson shooting, wrote in a Twitter message: “Senate ignored will of the people & rejected background checks. Im not giving up. Constituents will know they obeyed gun lobby and not them.”
To the question of what can we do now in the face of this latest defeat, Giffords had this to say:
Over two years ago, when I was shot point-blank in the head, the U.S. Senate chose to do nothing. Four months ago, 20 first-graders lost their lives in a brutal attack on their school, and the U.S. Senate chose to do nothing. It’s clear to me that if members of the U.S. Senate refuse to change the laws to reduce gun violence, then we need to change the members of the U.S. Senate.
If this is how these senators wish to govern, I argue that they are no longer deserving of the responsibility. I don’t think I’m alone in holding this opinion:
“I was extremely disappointed,” said retired Col. Bill Badger, one of the people who tackled Jared Lee Loughner in Tucson. “When 90 percent of the people want something, and the senator votes against them, the next election, we’re going to take care of those senators, because they’re not representing the people.”
No matter how it shakes down, at the end of the day, you cannot ignore the will of the people like this. The political will to carry on the fight is still there and this particular fight is not over. There are too many people now who care too deeply about this to let the gun lobby bury this cause, as has been done so many times in the past. Maybe it’s time to consider reforming the filibuster. Maybe it’s time to consider the so-called “nuclear option.”
To those Republicans (and the small handful of Democrats) who bowed to the pressure brought on by the gun lobby, remember that it was the people who gave you those Senate seats.
The people can just as easily take them away.