I wish I could say I was surprised by how too many Senators voted today. I wish I could say I was surprised that Reid once again agreed to the 60-vote "painless" filibuster as a means of subverting democracy. I wish I was that naive. Then maybe I wouldn't be so saddened by the spectacle of our dysfunctional democracy.
Oh, it's easy to be angry at the NRA or the Republicans or the tea party or some "other." But I am most saddened not by the callous acts of those "others" but by the cowardice of our own.
In a discussion this evening, someone I respect listed other policies and pieces of legislation Democrats and progressives have either lost or seen so watered down as to be unrecognizable from our original objective -- from women's rights to health care reform to today's disturbing votes against sane and sensible background checks on gun purchases or almost more so for requiring all states to accepting conceal carry licenses by a few. She asked why our side continues to ask for so little and settle for even less. To which I can only reply:
We are afraid. Afraid of being too pushy, afraid of being too strident, afraid of using emotional arguments, afraid of criticism if we do use emotional arguments. The other side is fearless: they don't care if they're wrong as long as they get their way. We want to be "the adults" while they're perfectly happy sitting in the middle of the room holding their breath.
Today was the first time Obama came right out and got angry that the NRA is blatantly, deliberately, and with malice, lying. Reid is still clinging to his "gentlemen's agreement" that allows the same damn 60-vote threshold so no one has to actually filibuster.
Maybe today's vote will allow some gloves to come off on our side. Obama's anger and Gabby Giffords' courageous op-ed in the New York Times tonight is a start.
But we still need to make the connection to the corrosion of money in politics and frankly to the unAmerican undemocratic archaic treatment of over fifty percent of the population. We still need to stand up against the tyranny of the minority, and refuse to surrender to the anti-science, anti-reality crowd destroying our children's education. We still need to face down the gluttonous greed of the fossil fuel industry as they rob us of our planet's future.
We still need to rise up and say, No More. And we need to mean it -- tonight, tomorrow, and the next day, and next month, and next year. We need to have as much, no, we need to have more resolve to create a better future than those who would pull us back and down.