I watched the comments by one of the grieving parents from Newtown and the President this afternoon in response to the shameful miscarriage of democracy in the U.S. Senate. Four Democratic senators voted to allow the Manchin-Toomey bill on background checks to be held hostage to a filibuster. Those four Democratic senators deserve our special attention as we respond to this black day in our history. They are Senators Bagich (AK), Baucus (MT), Heitkamp (ND), and Pryor (AR.) If there had been an up or down vote, the bill would have passed with the minimum 51 in the yes column. Republicans Toomey, Kirk, Collins and McCain voted for the bill. They should be congratulated.
Those of you in Missouri can send Sen. Blunt a message at this link:
Moms Demand Action, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and other gun safety groups have done a good job of teaching us about the horrors of gun violence and have urged us to contact our senators politely to express our views. Don’t you think it’s time to get angry? It should be obvious to all of us that you cannot play nice with bullies.
Those of you in other states, go to www.govspot.gov and find your senator. You can also contact the four Democratic cowards who went along with the filibuster.
Patricia Maisch who witnessed the Tucson shooting said on the Rachel Maddow Show tonight that those senators who voted against the bill “have no soul.” They are more concerned with their NRA rating than with the health and safety of their constituents. I agree.
The NRA spread outright lies about what the bill would do and spooked a vocal minority of gun owners who intimidated the senators. Shameful. That’s what the White House message is tonight. I agree.
The President said today there were no “coherent arguments” offered against the bill. Sen. Grassley and others just repeated the NRA talking points such as “Background checks would not have prevented Newtown.” No one has claimed that it would have, but that stupid comment is the best they can do.
I heard the same message yesterday at the Capitol in Jefferson City at the Medicaid expansion rally. There are NO coherent arguments for not expanding the Medicaid program in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. But Republicans say no anyway. They thumbed their noses at us by vacating the Capitol building under the guise of a pre-planned caucus meeting. Cowards. Just like the Republicans and four Democrats in D.C. They hate President Obama and the Affordable Care Act more than they care about Missouri families. Shameful.
Those in charge of the Republican Party in our country and in Missouri are so extreme in their views and so disdainful of our democratic processes that we can only conclude it’s time to man the barricades and take to the streets.
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords has an editorial in Thursday’s NY Times where she calls for us to do everything we can to get the message across to the cowards in the Senate that we will remember come election day. I hope the groups with the power and money to defeat those shameful traitors send them packing when they run for re-election. Meanwhile Giffords asks us to show them “our fury.” I certainly will let Sen. Blunt know how despicable he is for his vote today.
Three people were killed at the Boston marathon by a homemade explosive device. Sen. Claire McCaskill asked a good question today during a hearing. Is there really any difference between Sandy Hook and Boston other than the method used by the killer? The answer is no. Dozens of Americans will die tomorrow by gunfire. And the next day. And the next. This is a public health and safety crisis worse than any bird flu epidemic or drowning accident. But we can’t discuss it because we are forbidden by the NRA. Is this really any way to run a civilized society?
Susan Cunningham is a retired teacher of American history. She lives near St. Louis, Missouri.