Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How about real answers to real problems?

From Ed Stein's commentary:
The NRA and their allies have so completely cowed our legislators and the public that the few desperate calls for serious gun control in the wake of the Tucson shootings have been barely audible in the partisan shouting match that followed. This, despite the obvious fact that a lunatic like Loughner should never have been able to acquire a gun, let alone purchase high-volume ammo clips. We used to have serious discussions about such things after similarly tragic events, but this time there’s not even a hint of a promise to stiffen our gun laws.

I find it especially ironic that the week after the shooting, the House is voting not to to limit the public’s access to guns, but to health care. There’s a story I want some reporter to investigate. What kind of health care, I wonder,  will the fourteen who were wounded in the attack receive in the coming years, if the Republicans in the House have their way? How many will face unaffordable medical bills, lose their homes, go bankrupt? How many will exceed their lifetime caps on insurance, and have to pay for their continuing care out of pocket? How many will have their insurance canceled if their bills run too high? How many will be unable to buy insurance at any cost because of their injuries? None of these things will happen if the law is allowed to stand.

All true, although I'm not sure about "limiting access." Sure, I'd prefer that lunatics didn't have easy access to guns, but that's hard to do. And that's ignoring the main problem. The more important question is why anyone should be able to buy semi-automatic pistols and assault rifles with large magazines.

Such weapons are only useful for killing large numbers of people quickly. That's it. That's their only purpose. Now we ban individual ownership of nuclear bombs for the exact same reason, so what's keeping us from a similar attack of sanity here? Oh, yeah.

Why does the NRA lobby have such power? Hell, I don't know. Apparently, they've convinced all too many Americans that the slightest, sanest, most reasonable gun control laws are on the slippery slope to banning all guns everywhere.

I have to wonder sometimes if rational arguments can even compete in America these days. The irrational certainly have an advantage, don't you think? Hmm,... maybe that's why the Democrats are so inept at politics. They see the irrational stomping rational into the dirt, and so they try to be irrational themselves, but come up with such complete idiocy that it does them more harm than good.

Of course, complete idiocy has never been a problem for Republicans, has it? In fact, it seems to work better and better for them all the time. Well, I don't understand it. But you know, I prefer the rational, anyway. If intelligent, rational, evidence-based arguments can't compete, then we're in for a world of trouble. But have we really given them a chance?

Last year, Democrats ran away from their own health care reform because it was unpopular. They run away from gun control now for the same reason. In fact, I often wonder if cowardice isn't their biggest problem. If they'd just stand up and fight, maybe intelligent, rational, evidence-based arguments would actually work. Hey, they can't do any worse, can they?

Let's start with reasonable gun control - maybe not perfect, but at least sane. Popularity be damned! I want to see courage, if that's what it actually takes to propose banning assault rifles and other semi-automatic weapons with large magazines. Then let's see them stand up for the very conservative health care reform bill they already passed. And no, I don't care if the Republicans call it "job-killing" or "job-destroying." Either way, it's a lie.

And then, maybe we can even start attacking Republican actions, instead of always playing defense. Why is the GOP wasting time pandering to their base - and we ain't seen nuthin' yet! - instead of addressing our real problems?

Could it be because they have no answers to our real problems? Or, rather, that the answers they do have were all shown to be complete failures during the eight disastrous years of the George W. Bush administration? Unfortunately, they have no new answers, and they're not willing to give up the old ones, despite the evidence.

And, well, pandering to their base works - it works politically, at least, even though it does nothing but harm to our country. While Barack Obama reaches out to Republicans, even adopts their own rhetoric, reserving his anger for his own supporters, the GOP fires up its base. With nonsense, true. But it works.

Guess which side enthusiastically votes and which side mopes at home, dispirited and discouraged? Yeah, did I mention how inept the Democrats are at politics?

No comments: