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Op/Ed: Obama Isn't Gun Shy

 
 
   
 
I'm proud of President Obama for taking a firm, comprehensive stand on gun law reforms. I know that many of you think I'm overly critical of him, and it's true—he's not as progressive as he painted himself in order to get my vote, so I often feel betrayed by his actions. And I don't think he's a terribly strong leader, since he waited for polls to see how firm his position on this issue would be. But I applaud him today when he is strong.
 
In his first term, Obama got an 'F' rating from the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence for his extraordinary passivity. And even though he campaigned on reinstating the 1994 ban on assault weapons, he failed to do so, and in his first term he even made it legal to carry weapons into more places—onto Amtrak trains and into national parks. He also may back down and not issue executive orders. But for today, he stuck by his principles, and I'm glad I voted for him. Not because he's perfect, but because Mitt Romney could never stand by his principles. How could he? He ain't never had none!
 
There was a segment on Rachel Maddow this week in which she interviewed the parents of a child who was murdered at Sandy Hook. Rachel asked the couple what they'd been going through, and they said coffin brochures! Ba-dum-pum! Actually, the segment was extremely moving, and I was surprised by what the mom had to say. A grandparent had told her son that he'd achieve great things in life. Rather than wallow in sorrow and loss, the mom bravely asserted that her son would still go on to do great things even in death, because she would make sure that his death was going to be a catalyst for change, which helped prevent future massacres. She wasn't even ready to discuss which policies that might translate into yet. The poor gal's whole world has just been yanked out from under her. But what a triumph of the human spirit to turn her personal tragedy into a win for the greater good. Wow! Unselfishly caring about other people to benefit society at large? How refreshing!
 
You had a role in this. Your outrage shaped Obama's ability to take a firm stance and dictated just how firm it would be. Remember what Obama said in his acceptance speech about voting not being our only job?

"But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on."

So whoever's outrage over the senseless slaughter at Sandy Hook spurred them to sign petitions, write emails or make phone calls to make this country safer from gunmen spraying bullets, thank you! Great work! But we have to stick with this to ensure that Obama's bold vision isn't watered down by politicians who are more concerned with the agendas of the gun manufacturers who pay them off. Please contact your representatives and urge them to back Obama up. I'm sorry it took a gruesome scenario of 20 dead children to wake us up, but don't fall back asleep as we often have. Nine hundred people have already died since Sandy Hook! It's time to cure this epidemic of gun violence.
 
I reserve the right to make harsh criticisms of Obama tomorrow. But today, I'm impressed. Now if he only cared as much about the children he's killing with drones in Pakistan...

Photo of Lady Bunny by Billy Erb 
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