Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bullets vs. Ballots - Some Food for Thought

As you've probably read by now, the Manchin-Toomey amendment on background checks was defeated in the Senate by fillibuster.  The vote was 54-46 for the amendment, but because you need 60 votes to break a fillibuster the amendment never made it to the floor of the Senate.  Four Democrats - Max Bacus (MT), Mark Pryor (AR), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), and Mark Begich (AK) - joined 41 Republicans (with Harry Reid (NV) switching to "No" on procedural grounds) in defeating the measure, which isn't likely to get another vote in the forseeable future.  This vote was the culmination of the efforts of gun-control advocates across the country to get some kind of legislation passed in the wake of one of the most horrific mass shootings of our time.  Over 90% of Americans, including a majority of NRA members and a plurality of Republicans, support background checks for all gun purchases.  They support bans on high powered assault weapons.  They support bans on high capacity magazines.  The Manchin-Toomey amendment wouldn't have gotten all of that, but it was a start.  Sadly, conservatives in the Senate were less concerned with the will of the people and more concerned with keeping the NRA money spigot open for their re-election campaigns.

Now juxtapose this with the voter suppression efforts that are still going on in Republican controlled state legislatures.  These people want voters to have to show ID in order to vote in general elections, which would require those who do not have them to go to the trouble of gathering up the needed materials (birth certificates, social security card, etc.) and in some cases paying a fee to get one.  In addition, some states want to pass legislation prohibiting out of state college students from voting in the state where they go to school.  These laws are designed to depress voter turnout among minorities, the elderly, the poor, and young people, all of whom tend to vote Democratic.  The irony of this is that many of these same Republican state legislators are also pro-gun.  Meaning they are also against background checks, bans on assault weapons, and bans on high-capacity magazines.

The gist of all of this is that elected conservatives would rather make it harder for you to vote them out of office than for you to buy an assault rifle, roll up on them, and shoot them.

Food for thought.