Even before the tragic events at the Boston Marathon or before the explosion in West, Texas, this week was full of tragedy. The failure to pass the gun control measure hit me and many others particularly hard. I will remember who voted against common sense.
What's needed are policies that address the underlying social, cultural, and mental health factors that drive gun violence, with the understanding that these issues vary from one region of the country to another.
In an historic vote yesterday, the Senate voted to safeguard a fundamental American liberty, the right to be killed.
A bipartisan cadre in the Senate has now rejected a very reasonable expansion of background checks for gun purchases, largely in the name of "law abiding gun owners."
What happens now is not "someone else's problem." It doesn't matter where we live, how much money we make, the color of our skin or where we were born -- Wednesday's ruling was a vast disappointment, an outrage, and will compromise the safety of Americans everywhere.
I admit that I have no idea as to how these miscreants got their guns, but I am willing to say without reservation that there's something seriously wrong in a country where private citizens own 300 million guns and are still bitching that their 2nd Amendment rights are being threatened.
The gun purchase background checks proposed in the Manchin-Toomey amendment are supported by over 90 percent of Americans. So why couldn't this proposal even pass the Democrat-controlled Senate? We're living under minority rule, and there are a few culprits.
The problem is with the filibuster, and its evolution from a sometime instrument of supposedly very special causes that occasionally merit slowing down a fast-moving and majority into the everyday recourse of reckless minorities who hold democracy itself in contempt.
When it is harder to obtain a library card than it is to buy a gun in this country, something is terribly wrong. I mean, would you let your neighbor drive 100 miles an hour in their car through your children's school zone?
That this travesty of process is a resounding failure on all sides is a burden we all bear with appropriate shame. But the way forward is not through escalating antagonism -- if further escalation is even possible at this point.
In a stunning show of craven political calculation, the Senate has voted to not consider legislation that would expand background checks for firearm purchases. How ironic that in the synagogues this week we read the portion of Leviticus that contains these words: "Do not stand idly by the blood of your fellow."
Ending the filibuster should be a national rallying cry. No issue with 90 percent national support should be able to be defeated in the U.S. Senate.
Democrats should fight for jobs programs and pay equity for women, not fight to cut Social Security. Democrats should realize that when the winds of national opinion are at our back, it is folly to sail against these winds and disaster to downsize the legacy of our party.
Americans, in time of such great tragedy, can be truly awe-inspiring in their unity and resolve. But is that enough? Is it enough to belt out the national anthem for a few days and then return to business as usual?
As we teach our youth to put the weapons down and better their lives, what are we to tell them when so many in Washington have failed us so cowardly?
Many taxpayers are tired of supporting a government that spends enormous amounts of money but can't take the most basic steps to protect them and their children from harm.