U.S. Senate showed Profiles in Cowardice
During 1954 and 1955, while recovering from back surgery, John F. Kennedy (with assistance from his speechwriter, Ted Sorensen) enlightened readers with a Pulitizer Prize-winning book titled, “Profiles in Courage”. The book chronicled the courage and integrity of eight U.S. Senators over the span of our nation’s history. Those heralded senators crossed party lines and suffered immense criticism from the influence peddlers in and out of the Senate. A little over a week ago, in profound contrast to those courageous senators in “Profiles in Courage”, 45 U.S. Senators demonstrated, to the nation and to the world, behaviors that were the very antithesis of courage. In early April of 2013, many of the families of the children and teachers killed in Sandy Hook Elementary described to members of the Senate, in face to face meetings, the unspeakable horrors that were exacted upon 20 young children and their loved ones by a mentally deranged person. On April 17, those same families of those slaughtered children and educators were sitting in the balcony of the Senate chamber as 45 senators looked into their faces and voted against a bill supported by 90 percent of Americans – a bill designed to make it somewhat more difficult for mentally deranged people and felons to obtain firearms from the Internet and gun shows. These 45 cowardly senators shamefully wimped-out in the face of threats from the National Rifle Association (NRA), and they (metaphorically) snubbed their noses at those already devastated families from Newtown, Conn.Those cowardly senators are not the only problem here. The sane people of our society need to tune out the ridiculously specious arguments by the leadership of the NRA and listen to reason. The NRA’s leadership frequently lies to the American people. They would have us believe that the Constitution does not permit limits on our Second Amendment rights. That could not be further from the truth. In fact, Supreme Justice Antonin Scalia, in his majority opinion of the 2008 Second Amendment case (D.C. versus Heller) stated, “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” The effort to get this bill through the Senate was loaded with ironies. The bill was co-written by a Democrat and a Republican – both active members of the NRA with A-plus ratings from that organization. The bill was opposed by NRA’S mouthpiece, Wayne LaPierre who has, in the past, actually favored more background checks. Also, the NRA has historically held the position that “guns do not kill people, people do”, so why would they so stringently oppose a bill designed to keep guns out of the hands of the violently mentally ill and convicted felons? The entire Congress is becoming increasingly out of control and out of touch with the American people. Numerous polls indicate that less that 10 percent of the American people believe that members of Congress are doing a good job. That should be an embarrassment to all who love this great nation. To oppose a bill that is supported by 90 percent of the people is the ultimate arrogance. Furthermore, Isn’t it ironic that 90 percent of Democrats voted in favor of this bill and 90 percent of Republican opposed? What, in the name of reason, does party affiliation have to do with background check legislation concerning the mentally ill and felons? I think that if a bill were introduced tomorrow in the U.S. Congress outlawing human breathing, that Democrats and Republicans would split their votes down partisan lines. April 17, 2013, will forever be remembered (by many Americans) as a day when 45 U.S. senators cringed in fear and choked on their sour ethics. If they are that afraid of losing their jobs, then, hopefully, more of us will cast our votes to rid them of those jobs at the next election. America deserves the highest levels of courage at the highest levels of our government. Cowards should not be invited to serve at any level.
Bud Morgan lives near Avon Park.