My frustration at our Senate’s refusal to act on our behalf with today’s gun control legislation has led me to write several posts on Facebook which I will give all together here. I am so appreciative of my wife Teresa holding me accountable to my commitment to civil discourse. With her help I have tried to moderate my frustration and present some of the cogent ideas and concepts I believe are missing from our gun control debate.
I have tried to present a clear rebuttal of the Senate’s inaction on gun control, and why I think it is a very bad turn of events for us as citizens. I have tried to avoid name-calling and uncivil or unfair treatment of anyone, though I have been clear on my disagreement with their actions and/or justifications. Instead, I have turned name calling on myself… I am the frustrated body politic.
Here’s the syllabus on what I think is going wrong:
The Frustrated Body Politic: 101
So where do the people turn when their legislative body has great power but lacks the will to act? The American people overwhelmingly want expanded background checks as a beginning place for making our nation safer. Our Senate says we cannot have them.
Here’s a reminder of the kind of polling that shows our support for background checks… our President is not lying about public suport for expanded background checks.
And yet enough of those sent to represent our will in the Senate find justification to do nothing.
We are stuck with a “Legislature of Inaction.” They lack the will to move on issues that matter to the American people. Here’s little a reminder of how well that’s working for them… the Congress enjoys an amazing 13.5% approval rating and a staggering 80.3% disapproval rating, on average…
Inaction creates complicity on the part of our legislature. In the search for approaches to the problem of how to make us safer, inaction is the only response guaranteed to have no impact. As valid as the question of a bill’s ultimate efficacy might be, any effect would still be greater than the lack of change guaranteed by inaction.
I’ll let Gabrielle Giffords have the last say tonight.
The Frustrated Body Politic: 102
“Mark my words: if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress, one that puts communities’ interests ahead of the gun lobby’s. To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way.”
~ Gabrielle Giffords
“These senators have heard from their constituents – who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.”
~ Gabrielle Giffords
The Frustrated Body Politic: 103
“‘Criminals do not submit to background checks now,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa. ‘They will not submit to expanded background checks.'”
This is defeatism, not snappy wisdom or common sense. Defeatism is “an attitude of accepting, expecting, or being resigned to defeat,” and it seems to be the majority view in the Senate on making us a safer nation. Defeatism drives inaction.
A frustrated body politic might ask about the value of making it harder for untraced firearm purchases to happen when expanded background checks are enacted. A frustrated body politic might ask if the commitment level of the criminal to break the law should also lead us to abandon stop signs, or laws against murder, or laws against theft, or any other law we have made to increase our safety and remain in effect even though those laws are broken every day.
Defeatism is the assurance of defeat. Defeatism is a simple lack of will to act and it is an inexcusable trait for those invested with acting on our behalf.
“A battle is won by the side that is absolutely determined to win. Why did we lose the battle of Austerlitz? Our casualties were about the same as those of the French, but we had told ourselves early in the day that the battle was lost, so it was lost.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace