Voices and Votes

In an earlier post I said I was going to write my representatives in Congress. The subject was gun control:

Look, no one disagrees that people, not guns, kill people. But people with guns kill a lot of people, people they wouldn’t kill if they didn’t have guns. The answer is gun control, and it’s a blindingly obvious answer. It’s obvious even to the gun nuts, which is why they fight any and all attempts to restrict access to guns as hard as they do. They know that good sense will eventually win out, and they want to stave it off as long as possible. I’m mailing my senators and congressman today, asking them to stand up to the NRA by passing sensible gun control laws, as so many Western nations have successfully done.

Civic activist that I am, I did just that: I wrote to Senator John McCain, Senator Jeff Flake, and Congressman Ron Barber, asking them to stand up to the NRA and enact commonsense gun restrictions. Will it make a difference?

I’m not naive. John McCain gets more money from the NRA than anyone else in Congress: $543,386 between 1989-2012. I haven’t given him a dime. Jeff Flake? The NRA gave him more than $20,000 during his 2012 campaign. Me? Nothing. Ron Barber? Google comes up blank, but it’s safe to say he got 100% more from the NRA than he got from me.

A visitor from outer space would describe Congress as a place where bribery is both legal and encouraged. I guess it’s always been that way; maybe I am naive. Still, you have to try. We can’t say we’re a representative democracy if we quit believing our voices and votes mean something.

Yeah, that does sound naive, doesn’t it?

Well, senators and representatives may or may not listen to little people like us, but I’m pretty sure businesses do. I wrote to Home Depot before and after the weekend. Before, because a group of open carry assholes had announced they were going to hold a rally at a Home Depot in a Fort Worth suburb. I joined the chorus of customers letting Home Depot know allowing this would be a non-starter, that we’d take our business elsewhere if they did. Well, they did allow it, so I let them know afterward that I’d spent my last dime at Home Depot. Thousands of people, even tens of thousands, expressed the same vow. Home Depot may not be reacting publicly so far, but I know the protest is registering at corporate headquarters.

I can’t believe any business would allow people openly brandishing pistols and semiautomatic rifles to walk around in their stores or parking lots, frightening and intimidating regular customers. When was this ever acceptable? Even in Tombstone, back in the Wild West days, you left your six-shooter with the bartender. What is this nation becoming, another Somalia? If the assholes get their way, that’s exactly what we will become. We have to let our political and corporate overlords know this isn’t acceptable.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging about writing politicians and businesses. Granted, as a retired person I probably have more time for such things than most. But I do want to encourage all 20 of my regular readers to at least weigh in with your thoughts and opinions, at least by email. Heck, these days politicians and most big corporations have Twitter and Facebook accounts, and you can leave messages there. It’s not that hard, and they do need to hear from you. God knows they hear plenty from the NRA and the Koch brothers.

There, I’ve said my piece and I’ll quit boring you now.

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