Tag Archives: Senate

I’ve Had It: Standing Up to Gun Culture

I’ve had it.

I’ve had it with gun culture. I’ve had it with this ridiculous notion that the Second Amendment means every citizen is entitled to an unlimited arsenal of military-grade weapons.

I’ve had it with the NRA and their bullying. I’ve had it with their outright lies and arm-twisting. It turns some of our country’s leaders into puppets for gun manufacturers, and brainwashes otherwise well-meaning citizens.

I've Had ItI’ve had it with threats being hurled at me every time I bring up gun violence. (For the record, if you want to engage in a civilized debate on this issue, I’m happy to do so. Send me hate mail and I’ll block you. Because I’ve had it.)

I’ve had it with children shooting other children. Who buys their five-year-old something called “My First Rifle” — and what kind of crazy person markets such a thing in the first place? Giving teens or young adults rifles for hunting as part of a family tradition, with proper training and handling rules, is one thing, but a five-year-old child?

I’ve had it with people dying every day at the end of a gun: children, grandparents, sons, mothers … even police officers, those who are among the best-trained gun handlers in the country. If they can be gunned down, what hope is there for the rest of us?

I’ve had it with the cowards in the Senate who voted against background checks because they didn’t want to be on the NRA’s bad side — or worse yet, just to oppose the President. So every day, more guns get into the hands of people who have no business owning them, due to sheer greed and political pettiness.

I’ve had it with the people who tell me I don’t know how to be responsible for making decisions about my own reproductive health while insisting that they can be responsible for their guns. Tell that to the people in Newtown who died because someone who was obviously mentally unstable got his hands on his mother’s arsenal. An arsenal so large that maybe, just maybe, someone should have thought to question her need to own so many guns.

I’ve had it with being afraid that the next person to be gunned down will be someone I love. Because I’ve watched people I know personally go from being what I’d consider sensible, responsible gun owners — who, just a few months ago, thought universal background checks were a good idea — to being zealots who think background checks are infringing on their liberty and assert that we’re coming for their guns and dammit, they’re not going to stand for it. They’re keeping all their guns and buying more.

I’ve had it with the idea that a large number of Americans think an armed rebellion in our country might be necessary soon. There’s an actual number, in fact: 29 percent. Just let that sink in. More than one-quarter of our citizens are thinking they’ll need to rise up against our government and take matters into their own hands. If that doesn’t frighten you, it should.

I’ve had it with being afraid. I’ve had it with wondering how many people will die every day. I’ve had it with being told I’m trying to take away someone’s rights because I don’t think they have any need for weapons or ammunition that can fire off who-knows-how-many rounds in seconds. That’s not what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment. They couldn’t imagine the technology we have today. They were thinking about muskets and cannons, not assault rifles and nerve gas.

I've Had ItI’ve had it with people who ignore the words “well-regulated militia” in the Second Amendment. The Framers of the Constitution were smart enough to know that the world would change, so regulating things like, say, weapons of war might be a good idea. If someone wants to wield a weapon of war, he or she should enlist in the armed forces. Not in a rogue militia that wants to overthrow the government. There are, in fact, laws against that.

I’ve had it with the attitude that the rights of gun owners are more important than everyone else’s. I am not saying people shouldn’t own guns for things like hunting or self-defense. I’m not saying we should change or disregard the Second Amendment. But when children can’t go to school, families can’t walk down the street, people can’t open their front doors or drive to work without fear of being shot, it’s time for reasonable limits.

I’ve had it with the idea that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is about gun owners first, and everyone else second. They do not control this country and it’s time we fought back — not with guns, but with our votes and our voices. A majority of Americans think there should be some sensible measures in place to make it harder for criminals or the mentally unstable to buy guns, such as background checks that are no more onerous or intrusive than applying for a driver’s license or a passport. Many of those people are gun owners. And we need to stand up and say we’ve had it. We’re not going to re-elect representatives who put the interests of a lobbying group or a vocal minority ahead of the wishes of their constituents. Who put political ideology before the sanctity of human life.

I’ve had it. If you have, too, now is the time to do something about it. Let your elected officials know that you won’t live in fear. And if they won’t do something to change that, you’ll change the playing field by electing someone who will.

You can find your members of Congress here.

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Time to get serious

Politics are funny. They just are. But there’s a time for joking around and a time to get serious. And right now it’s time to get serious already.

Look, I’ll laugh at politics all day long. I don’t care which side of the aisle is pulling political pratfalls, I’ll poke fun. I usually avoid the obvious but, sure, I made jokes about Anthony Weiner. I’ve made jokes about John Boehner. (Those jokes all kind of come from the same grab-bag, don’t they?) And most of the GOP candidates are perpetual punchlines. Um … sorry. Oops.

Laughing about it is fine and healthy, especially if you work in politics. It also helps our economy by keeping more comedians working.

Time to Get Serious

We're funny, right?

But seriously? What’s going on in Washington, D.C., just isn’t funny anymore. Millions of Americans need jobs, or better incomes, or help with a thousand other things we simply aren’t helping them with as much as we could be. That’s nothing to laugh about.

The President has proposed The American Jobs Act (AJA) to get things moving. Yet the Republican party flat-out refuses to discuss the AJA. Won’t even talk about it, other than to say they won’t talk about it. I’ve asked plenty of people: “Why won’t they talk about it?” The only answer I’ve heard was a quote I read from John Boehner, saying the GOP is against the jobs bill because it’s “paid for with tax hikes which ‘will hurt [the] economy and put Americans out of work.’ ”

Aside from the fact that Speaker Boehner’s comment is misleading — because the tax increase would only be on the most wealthy Americans and the AJA would also be paid for with spending cuts — that simply isn’t a good enough reason to not even spend time talking about it in the House. I desperately want to write a comedy sketch where Speaker Boehner says to House Republicans, “Should we debate the American Jobs Act and tell Democrats what our concerns about it are? Nah, let’s just reaffirm our country’s motto as ‘In God We Trust’ instead.”

Sure, if I pitched that sketch it might make it on a comedy show. It’s funny. But when you realize that the House actually did put the motto before jobs in real life, it’s no laughing matter.

Neither is some of the other legislation that’s been prioritized before any discussion of the AJA. Limiting or eliminating women’s access to healthcare and birth control. Rolling back regulations that protect people and our environment. Or how about spending time meeting with Herman Cain during the first week of his alleged sex scandal instead of being on the House floor? And, to be fair, the Senate isn’t much better. For the most part, they basically keep voting on what I like to pretend they call the “We Have Our Fingers In Our Ears And Just Don’t Want To Hear About The AJA” rule.  [Update: After this was posted, the Senate and House voted in favor of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which the President signed into law on November 21. It’s one small part of the AJA, with tweaks. A step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough.]

Time to Get Serious

Haha! No, wait. Cut it out!

There’s a fine line between funny and frustrating.

Clearly, voters in the November 2011 elections were serious about making their voices heard: They are not amused.

Still, there’s much, much more to be done. It’s time to stop playing games and get to work. The President is taking every possible step. But what did the Republicans do when he introduced his legitimate “We Can’t Wait” approach to taking action? They turned it into an attack. Reince Priebus actually tweeted “#WeCantWait to make [this] a one-term president.”

I guess we should thank Priebus for making the Republican agenda clear. (And for giving us such a great name to mock.) I’m sure he thought he was being clever and funny in his tweet, but he wasn’t. It wasn’t just the President he disrespected. It was also the millions of Americans who need the help of the officials they elected.

Is everything the President and the Democrats do perfect? No, of course not. Is everything the Republicans do wrong? No, of course not. There’s both good and bad in every group and everyone. Our elected representatives are all human and imperfect, something they have in common with every one of their constituents.

But when it comes to job creation and getting the economy back on track, it’s time to stop fooling around. It’s time to get serious and get to work. The two parties have got to get together and sort this out already.

Anything else is just a joke. And one that isn’t even remotely funny to the American people.

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