Yet, we won't talk about guns in our society.
Because, similar to how there is a pledge that Grover Norquist extracts from Republicans, the NRA has made it essentially mandatory for Republicans, and Democrats too, to pledge support for gun rights, at the expense of anything else, including our freedom to go to a movie or a gurudwara without getting shot there!
Former president George H.W. Bush put it well recently: "Who the hell is Grover Norquist?"
But then, he isn't running for any office is he! But, at least, he said that much. I wonder if he will dare to say anything critical about the NRA though.
As a policy person, I understand that gun-related deaths have actually decreased in the US, especially when you factor out the drug dimension. But, what frustrates me is how much even a meaningful discussion on guns has been completely precluded. As a society we can talk about many, many issues but not about guns. It is easy to dismiss an inconsequential worry-wart like who me thinks that this censorship of policy discussions is not the best for democracy. But, when the head of one of the most prestigious policy think-tanks, RAND, expresses it, well, we better take notice:
I worry that there are some topics now where the policy options is just completely off limits, so polarizing. A few examples are gun control, another one is the question of national standards when it comes to K-12 education — there a full comprehensive look at reform ought to include a careful analysis of that, but that is one of the 'third-rail' issues very difficult to do that in a way that doesn't generate a polarized reaction. Another one is concern about the growing burden of health costs on the military and veteran systems.It is nuts that we can't even engage in discussions on gun control. Damn the NRA!
The dysfunctional Congress can conveniently duck this latest act of home-grown terrorism--it is now on a summer break! So, what did the do-nothing-Congress do to earn this recess?
[Most] folks only take time off when they get their job done—and that definitely isn’t the case for the 112th Congress.
While Midwest farmers suffer through the worst drought in decades, the House left a bipartisan farm bill passed by the Senate sitting on the table. Certainly, there’s room for improvement in that traditionally pork-filled appropriation bill. But make the improvements and pass the damn bill—the all-or-nothing tug-of-war between the perfect and the good doesn’t help people who need it now.
Even more resonant to anyone who uses the post office (which is just about everyone) is the fact that our once-proud USPS is about to default on a $5.5-billion payment. This has been a slow-motion implosion, and the Senate got its act together to pass a bipartisan bill months ago that would help avoid default. But the House had different priorities. Instead, the chamber found time to rename 60 post-office branches and attempted to repeal the health-care law for the 33rd time.As Gail Collins writes, given the low approval ratings for Congress, perhaps they will figure out how to get into the negative numbers too!
The presidential candidates are not keen on making it easy to like them either. With everything going on that needs to be addressed, what is Mitt Romney's latest gripe?Maybe Congress will pick up the ball when it comes back to town for a couple of weeks this fall before the election. But it already has a full agenda of futile, symbolic votes plus the crucial kicking the can down the road.Maybe it’s possible to have a negative approval rating.
The Romney campaign released a new TV ad on Sunday in which the GOP presidential candidate calls the connection between the United States and Israel “a cherished relationship” and criticizes President Obama for not visiting the country since being elected president nearly four years ago.
The 30-second ad also criticizes Obama for “refusing to recognize” that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
*Update: The FBI is apparently treating this as domestic terrorism