Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Real Duty of Those in Congress


Pundits, comics and we plain folk got the post-Aurora gun thing right immediately. We knew who was going to be talking gun control, yes or no, and what they'd say. For Congress, the cliché proved well based. Republicans who spoke up clearly were positively bought by the NRA and gun interests, and Democrats who did or who whimpered clearly were negatively threatened and intimidated.

None of that surprised any of us, especially not the don't-dare-politicize-this calls from gun-rights absolutists. Pay no attention to their politicizing the don't-politicize thing; these are not the liars you seek. Move along.

The slim chance for change and good sense here has been in the few calls for leadership. Even the let's at least discuss the big issues makes the absolutists scream louder and more frequently. Instead of playing their game, let's see what those in Congress are about and what they should be doing.

This is an old, but sturdy, horse that I ride. The primary job of those in the U.S. House and Senate is to lead.

If you ask the state political parties, many constituents, and nearly all in Congress, they'd likely say the first job is to bring home benefits for their local voters. Grants, federal construction and such are often used as measures of effectiveness.

When someone in either house then adds they are in D.C. to vote the way their constituents want, they are pathetic. That is the saddest, most cynical, most cowardly way to view the position.

Instead, those we send to public office should lead. I'd write must lead, but we're a long, long way from that being common enough for that.

Those in Congress should think more and learn more about issues big and small that affect us than we ordinary folk. They have access to the information and have support staff to educate them, and we would hope, the counter self-interested lies of lobbyists. Our Reps and Senators thus have a duty to be ahead of the issues, to offer solutions that help us short term and beyond.

I can do without cowards claiming they are only doing that their constituents would tell them to do. I want and we should all demand leaders who come down on the correct side, the wise side of each issue.

So with guns, ammo and related issues. Let's not get caught up in the NRA-framed jive. This isn't about some scaremongering fantasy of all guns being stolen from Americans. Let's remember that this is nearly one gun per citizen here in our hands, as well as that many thousands of us die annually from gun violence. It would go beyond political craziness to try to take away the guns, as well as physically impossible.

I'm not sure we can find enough Republicans of honesty and courage in Congress to be leaders here. The Dems don't look much better.

For our part as voters, we need to speak to our squeaking mice in D.C. We need to tell them we want leaders, not followers, on this...for a big change.

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