Thursday, May 21, 2009

Democracy in action

George Stephanopolus once famously said "Let me make one small vote for the NRA. They're good citizens. They call their Congressmen. They write. They vote. They contribute. And they get what they want over time." So when the NRA wins something in congress, and my people start whining about how the NRA is setting the agenda now, maybe they (we) should take a long hard look at why.

Most people in American support gun ownership.

In order to win back the House and Senate the democratci party was forced to open up the big tent.

Obama is too busy wrestling with the economy to take on social issues.

And eh's really not a liberal (he just plas one--or just plays to a base--on TV).

Let's face it: to beat the republicans we had to welcmoe back those who had been ostracized by the zealots in our ranks: hunters, anglers, gun enthusiasts, small business people, property rights advocates, libertarians and even, unfortunately, some pro life activists. Those who are now crying about that would probably rather ahve a pure party with about 20% of the house. They are the leftie equivilents of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hanity who advocate orthodoxy over results. People like Carolyn McCarthy, who this week quoted as saying "The NRA is taking over the House and Senate." (She is mostly laying the groundwork for her campaing to unseat Kirsten Gilliland in next year's New York Sentae special elelction).

The cause of all this hoopla is a measure attached tot he Credit Card Bill of Rights that allows people to carry loaded guns in nationl parks. This measure was sponsored and heavilly pushed by the NRA, and so the NRA is once again the boogey man. My liberal compatriots are rending their garments that this measure could pass in a democratically controlled congress. But it's not just democratically controlled. It is America controlled, and this is the type of measure most people in America want. That doesn't mean shut up and like it. This is America: fight it, protest, if that's what you think you should do. But be honest about it and admit that at the moment you, the anti gun forces, are in the minority.

And, in fact, the real answer to this is "big deal." If a person can carry a gun up to the national park legally, making him unload it at the gate is silly. I do have a concernt hat some yahoo might pop a cap in a brown bear in Yosemite Valley after this. Brown Bears in Yosemite are about as dangerous as pekinese in Central Park, but tell that to some idiot who catches one crawling into his tent with him because said idiot was dumb enough to take a bag of Doritos to bed.

But I digress. This measure is not a big deal. But it is a big symbollic deal. It shows that in a Democratic controlled congress witha Democratic president the anti-gun loby has lost its power. It does not bode well for Diane's plans to reinstate the assault weapons ban.

I'm a long time supporter of Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer. I've voted for all of them in the past and if I still lived in San Francisco I would do so again. On most issues, and many that are important to me, they are the politicians I believe in and trust to fight for what is right. But I plan to volunteer for Kirsten Gilliland's cmpaing next year, becasue she is the future of the Democratic Party. And the assault weapons ban is as good as dead already.


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