Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It's Time to Get in the NRA's Face in a Major Way

Having been a political activist for 25 years, one thing that drives me to distraction is the difference - perhaps laziness is the better word - of so many Americans when it comes to paying attention to politics and getting off one's butt to support responsible candidates and to oppose toxic elements in political life.  Few organizations are more toxic in American politics than the NRA which basically trades in death and puts gun manufacturers' profits above all else, including the lives of school students as demonstrated by the NRA's opposition to any type of sane gun control legislation after every mass shooting.  Only in America does such carnage go on and on while NRA puppets in elected office do nothing by offer utterly worthless "thoughts and prayers."  A column in the New York Times exhorts Americans to get off their asses and do more than dwell in social media.  The rubber hits the road by confronting and getting in the faces of NRA bought politicians and voting them out of office.  Here are column excerpts: 
Cameron Kasky, a 17-year-old at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who survived last week’s mass shooting, wrote a beautiful essay for that declared: “At the end of the day, the students at my school felt one shared experience — our politicians abandoned us by failing to keep guns out of schools. But this time, my classmates and I are going to hold them to account. This time we are going to pressure them to take action. This time we are going to force them to spend more energy protecting human lives than unborn fetuses.”
Cameron, God bless you for that sentiment. But just one piece of respectful advice: If your generation and mine want to get serious about a gun control crusade, we all need to get out of Facebook and into someone’s face: the N.R.A.’s.
This fight can’t be won on Twitter or Instagram. . . . . The N.R.A. is not just in the chat rooms. It’s in the cloakrooms of Congress and state legislatures. And it’s there with bags of money and votes it uses to reward lawmakers who do its bidding and hurt those who don’t.
I loved seeing the 100 students from your high school taking buses Tuesday to Florida’s capital to directly press lawmakers. That’s a great start. I hope every high school follows.
But, ultimately, nothing will change unless young and old who oppose the N.R.A. run for office, vote, help someone vote, register someone to vote or help fund someone’s campaign — so we can threaten the same electoral pain as the National Rifle Association, which, according to PolitiFact, spent $203.2 million between 1998 and 2017 funding its candidates, defeating gun control advocates and lobbying. This is not about persuading people with better ideas. We tried that. It’s about generating raw electoral power and pain.
Because most of the G.O.P. members of Congress who do the N.R.A.’s bidding care about only one thing: their jobs. The pay of a typical congressman is $174,000 — and free parking at Reagan National Airport — and they will sell themselves to whoever can generate the votes to enable them to keep both. . . . . This is primarily a G.O.P. problem today.
How do we know that? Read the paper or the web. The G.O.P., which claimed to stand for conservative family values, has prostrated itself before the most indecent person to ever occupy the White House — a man who lies as he breathes, smears poor, nonwhite nations and reportedly had sex with a porn star shortly after his wife delivered their son. But G.O.P. lawmakers are mute on this because President Trump energizes their base and ensures their $174,000-a-year jobs and free parking at Reagan National Airport.
Republicans won’t back common-sense gun laws that would protect fully developed human beings — because the N.R.A. energizes their base and funds their campaigns and ensures their $174,000-a-year jobs and free parking at Reagan National Airport.
This is a party whose “Freedom Caucus” was so obsessed with our rising national debt that it tried to prevent Barack Obama from spending a dime to stimulate our economy after it went deep into recession — but just voted to add $1 trillion to the debt for a corporate tax cut without regard for the burden put on our kids.
Trying to embarrass them to act on principle is wasted breath. . . . . They know full well that a common-sense banning of all military assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, or mandating universal background checks for gun buyers or to prevent terrorists and the mentally ill from buying guns, would not curb the constitutional right to bear arms.
They know full well that they’re in the grip of an N.R.A. cult, whose heart is so frozen, it’s content to watch innocent children and adults get gunned down weekly — rather than impose common-sense gun limits. They know all of this — but they suppress it, because they also know if they vote for common-sense gun laws, the N.R.A. will fund their next opponent.
Like I said, this is just about raw naked power, and that is what sensible gun control advocates have to generate more of now — in the form of votes and campaign funding. Otherwise nothing changes.
Keep speaking out, Cameron — but never underestimate what some people will do for a $174,000 job and free parking at Reagan National Airport.
 Many ask why the husband and I are so politically active and give money, provide housing to candidates' staff members, and use whatever influence we can muster to get voters out on election day to support good candidates.  The answers are easy.  First, it is a duty of Second, and more importantly, bad things happen when good people fail to act.  In 2016, far too many good people were lazy and failed to vote.  The result is the nightmare that occupies the White House.  Another is a GOP totally beholden to the NRA.  This can change, but people must get off their asses and and get to work NOW.  The 2018 midterms are a perfect opportunity to send the GOP and NRA a message.  And remember that silence equals complicity.

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