Thursday, January 17, 2013

We live with our past mistakes

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
There Goes the Boom
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
There Goes the Boom - ATF
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

From NBC:
Some of the main legislative proposals backed by Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are:
  • requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private sales
  • banning "military-style" assault weapons
  • limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
  • strengthening penalties for gun trafficking
"The most important changes we can make depend on Congressional action," Obama said. "They need to bring these proposals up for a vote and the American people need to make sure that they do."

The president also signed a series of 23 executive actions - free from a Congressional blockade -- intended to strengthen existing laws, augment mental health measures and promote federal research on gun crime through the Centers for Disease Control.

The executive actions announced included stricter prosecution of would-be gun buyers who fail background checks as well as new requirements for federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

Now tell me, what sane human being could oppose those actions? How could you get a more rational, more moderate, more reasonable set of proposals? Yes, they could probably be tougher, but how could anyone think they're going too far?

But that's not the point I want to make here. Instead, I want you to think about how we have to live with our past mistakes. Our errors stay with us for years, for decades, for generations even, often enough.

For decades, we've let the NRA pretty much write the laws, when it comes to guns. We've let them deliberately hobble gun crime enforcement - and then heard them complain that our problem is just lack enforcement!

Thanks to their 'Southern strategy,' Republicans have dominated in American politics for years. They reached a pinnacle during the Bush years, controlling all three branches of the federal government - the presidency, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court - as well as countless state governments.

And we're still trying to climb out of the economic hole they dug for America (and the world). We're still trying to extricate ourselves from their wars. We've been forced to combat the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression while starting out deeply in debt.

Our right-wing Supreme Court has given us such disastrous decisions as Citizens United, which pretty well legalized political corruption. Now, thanks to that, corporations are just "people," and all of us "people" can buy our own Congressmen, and keep it a complete secret from everyone else.

What? You don't have hundreds of millions of dollars to spare? Gee, imagine that! What a shame. I guess you should run a corporation, then. That way, you wouldn't have to use your own money.

But my point is that two of the five Republican justices who decided that case (in opposition to all four Democrats on the Court) were appointed by Ronald Reagan! Yeah, Reagan hasn't been president for 24 years. Heck, he's been dead for nine years. But we're still living with his mistakes - with our mistakes in electing him.

Clarence Thomas was appointed by the first President Bush, and he's only 64, which isn't old at all for a Supreme Court justice. And George, Jr. appointed two justices who are just 57 and 62 today. We'll live with those mistakes for a long, long time.

And we're still making mistakes which will plague America for years. In 2010, we elected Republicans all across America - yes, only two years after the worst presidential administration in U.S. history (talk about a short memory!) - and they've been using that advantage to get a long-term advantage in American politics.

They've been using their power in state governments to suppress votes and even voter registration. They're trying to change electoral college rules - only in Democratic-leaning states - so that Democratic candidates will only win a portion of the state's vote, while Republican candidates will still win the entire state in places like Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, etc.

They've been gerrymandering House districts to give Republicans an advantage there, as well. In last November's election, when everyone in the House of Representatives was up for election or re-election, Democratic candidates received a million more votes than Republican candidates, but Republicans still kept the majority - and quite easily, too. That's a democracy?

We live with our past mistakes - sometimes mistakes of the recent past, others far more distant in time. And we can't just wave a magic wand when our country finally realizes what a mistake it was. This doesn't make change hopeless, but it does make it far more difficult.

And change is plenty difficult enough, anyway!

No comments: