“Lord, when babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers. Lord, deliver our senators from the paralysis of analysis that waits for the miraculous.” – U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black
U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black is giving the Republican Party too much credit.
The GOP isn’t waiting for “the miraculous” when it refuses to act on much needed common-sense gun laws. Republicans refuse to act for the oldest reason in the book: their own self-interest.
And they’re going to keep refusing. No matter how many people die. No matter how many children have their lives snuffed out decades too early. No matter how much the right-minded complain. No matter how many hours cable television devotes to decrying their blatant abdication of their governing responsibility.
It’s never going to change – never – until one of two things happens: Republicans start losing elections, or Republicans acquire a fear of dying. Let’s all hope it’s the former, because the latter could result from a series of tragedies no one should wish for.
The latest American carnage came in this week’s mass shooting at a religious school in Nashville, Tenn. Six people – including three 9-year-olds – were gunned down before police, reacting with remarkable speed and courage, killed the deranged attacker.
Three 9-year-olds. For God’s sake, 9-year-olds.
With each mass shooting the body count grows. More photos are added to the gallery of dead children whose lives were cut short by our country’s unique derangement for more guns and its disengagement from the collateral damage resulting from our gun culture and the tradeoff of dead kids for some kind of fantasy claim of “freedom” that it embraces.
Thoughts and prayers?
Haven’t we figured out yet that God isn’t going to do a damn thing about this. He isn’t going to do a damn thing about most of the problems facing our nation and the world. That’s our job. A job one of our two major political parties has no interest in doing.
If you believe in God, the best he’s going to do is try to give us some direction about right and wrong, with the long-range goal of us using those beliefs to guide us in our decisions. The rest is up to us.
When the boat springs a leak and begins to sink, there are people who start to bail, and there are those who sit there praying for God’s help. Pray if you want, but grab a damn bucket and get to work.
Which brings us to how we can solve this problem. How are we ever going to become a nation that doesn’t allow ordinary citizens to have weapons of war designed to kill as many people as possible? A nation that believes background checks and red flag laws are common sense, not an invasion of our rights? A nation that bans over-sized magazines that allow more bullets to be fired faster with fewer stops to reload?
Well, as was said earlier, one of two things has to happen. Republicans have to start losing elections, or Republicans have to believe their lives are legitimately in danger. For sanity’s sake, let’s look at the first option first.
The number one goal of Republican elected officials is to stay in office. One way they do this is by trying to cultivate a base of voters that keeps voting for their reelection. Republicans have made guns one of their top wedge issues. These are issues that exist solely to convince people to vote for the GOP when its policies do them no good at all. Guns are another of their cons – like their trumped-up culture, race, and class wars.
After years of lying to their voters that Democrats want to take away their guns, that their freedom is somehow in danger, even about what the law actually says about the Second Amendment, there’s no way Republicans are suddenly going to see the light about guns in our country.
After they’ve ginned up their base for all these years, to turn around and actually do the right thing would be admitting they’ve been lying all long. That they’ve been playing the rubes for suckers. They’d lose voters to more far-Right candidates, and they’d lose both money and endorsements from the gun lobby. They’re stuck where they are on the political spectrum.
So, how do they start losing? For starters, we have to understand there are some areas that they aren’t going to lose, no matter what Democrats do. The focus has to be on those states and those districts – both at the national and state level – where candidates dedicated to the greater good have a chance to prevail.
Second, we have to do everything we can to tear down the Republican mechanisms set up to help them cheat. Things like gerrymandering and voter suppression. This is an ongoing fight as Red states continue to push legislation designed solely to help them win elections.
Will the changing demographics that our country will experience in the coming years be enough to wrestle control away from a Republican Party doing everything it can to establish and maintain minority rule? We hope. But how long will that take? The fight to protect our democracy – something we once took for granted – will be ongoing. Don’t count on it ever ending.
Now, let’s look at the dark side, and at the same time pray it never happens.
I’m convinced that Republican elected officials pushing violence and ignoring the steady stream of mass shootings in this country operate on the belief that they’re bulletproof – no pun intended. That the powder keg they come dangerously close to lighting will never blow up in their faces. That they’re safe from harm should their rank-and-file explode in violence.
When a GOP politician poses with an assault-style weapon, you’ll never convince me that he has any concern that such a gun would ever be used against him or his family. To Republicans, it’s the Right that has the guns and the will to use them. As if no one on the Left has ever fired a gun or would give the slightest thought to shooting back in self-defense.
As long as Republican officials think their rhetoric will never come back to harm them, they’ll keep pushing the envelope. But, make them understand that when they target us that they’ll become targets themselves and you can be sure a lot of them will think twice about promoting guns and violence.
Look at GOP politicians who send out Christmas cards with pictures of their family – including their children – holding assault-style weapons. Do you think that for even a second they’re concerned that their children might be killed in a school shooting by the very type of gun they’re holding? Your kids? Maybe. Their kids? No way.
That’s because if they thought these weapons endangered their kids these “cute” cards sent to remind their voters of their love and support of the insane portion of our gun culture wouldn’t seem so funny anymore.
The last several paragraphs have been something I’ve thought for a while, but I’ve never written them until now because I’m in no way calling for the violence they refer to. But I’m sick of watching kids die. I’m sick of the high-road, one-sided debate that goes nowhere.
I’m sick of people – both adults and children – literally sacrificed at the altar of the gun lobby by politicians who think that provides them with the best chance to win elections. I’m sick of the worthless, pompous assholes who pose with pictures of assault-style weapons and wear pins in the shape of these guns, almost as if the almost daily mass shootings are something to mock instead of mourn.
I’m sick of the Christian hypocrites who tell us to pray for the dead while voting for the politicians who do nothing to try to mitigate these tragedies. I’m sick of bought-off politicians in their gated communities with the money to pay for private security putting their welfare, careers, and personal agendas over the rest of us. Over our very lives.
And I’m sick of 9-year-olds dying. I don’t care how we do it. We have to stop this insanity by any means necessary.
The best choice is clear: Vote these motherfuckers out.
Thank you for reading my post. You can see more of my writing on my blog: Musings of a Nobody.