President Obama called Wednesday a “shameful day in Washington.” The families who are still grieving the loss of their children and loved ones to gun violence said they were “disgusted.” Congresswoman Gabby Gifford’s, herself a gunshot victim, said she was “furious” that 90% of Senate Republicans, and four Democrats, put politics above the good of the nation by killing gun violence legislation by means of a filibuster.
A strong majority of the Senate—56, voted for the Manchin-Toomey compromise to close the loopholes in background checks, However, due to the archaic rules of the Senate, a majority can not end a filibuster—it requires 60 votes out of the 100 Senators. So a minority of self-serving politicians inflicted their will over the majority and 90% of Americans who want to keep guns away from thugs, terrorists, and the criminally insane.
The NRA and most Republicans are celebrating. However, it may be a relatively short-lived celebration. The president, the victimized families, and many other Americans have indicated this is just round one and the fight is not over.
Congresswoman Giffords summed up the sentiments of the majority in an Op-ED published Thursday:
“Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe.”
This was a temporary setback in the fight against murder, but a long range setback for the one-time Party of Lincoln. This vote was one more blow to the already damaged Republican brand, and it will reverberate for decades to come.
Republican Party on wrong side of history
After suffering its fourth defeat in the last six presidential elections, the GOP commissioned a post mortem to figure out why they keep losing elections. They learned the obvious—voters think the GOP is the party of special interests and it is out of touch with the average American particularly women, minorities, and the LGBT community.
Wednesday, Republican Senators confirmed how out of touch the Republican Party is. While most Americans mourn the deaths of recent gun shot victims particularly children, GOP Senators sided with the gun greedy manufacturers and retailers putting their profits ahead of safety of the nation’s children. Many Senators even insulted the families of gunshot victims for trying to make their voices heard in Washington.
Gun violence is just one example of how the Republican Party remains on the wrong side of history. While most Americans favor marriage equality, the Republican Central Committee reaffirmed the Party’s opposition to marriage equality again last week on a unanimous vote.
Even though a group of four Republican Senators and four GOP House members are working towards immigration reform, most rank and file Republicans are against immigration reform. The main argument Republican politicians use is that they fear that immigrants will vote Democratic.
Republicans continue to antagonize women. They killed the Pay Check Fairness Act again last week. A very large number of Republicans voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. State legislatures have enacted over 40 laws since 2010 abridging the rights of women to obtain an abortion even though the Supreme Court ruled women have a constitutional right to choose.
Despite a so-called outreach to minority voters, Republicans in the states they control are still passing laws to deny minorities their right to vote. Republicans are out to take away voting rights from anyone who does not vote for them.
This can not stand. Republicans are going the way of the Whigs. They may win battles, but they are losing the war. Voting against safety for our children will not set well especially with American women, mothers, and grandmothers. Denying women their rights to equal pay for equal work, and their right to choose will not grow their party. Bashing immigrants and denying minorities the right to vote is a sure loser for the Republican brand.
At the end of the day, the power of the people is greater than the power of the people now in power.
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