Thursday, April 18, 2013

Political Corruption At The Heart Of Gun Control Defeat

Yesterday we learned that the mass slaughter of young schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., is not enough to motivate lawmakers to pass meaningful gun control. Ultimately, we learned that no gun atrocity, no matter how horrendous and how young and innocent the victims, will inspire Congress to act. If anything confirms the complete corruption of our political system, this does.

Consider universal background checks for gun sales. Regardless of the fact that 90 percent of the country favors this measure, it did not pass. The Senate’s disgraceful defeat of this legislation demonstrates that it is beholden not to the people but to special interests flush with cash, in this case the NRA.

Our elections are not publicly financed, resulting in politicians who sell their services to the highest bidder. This institutionalized bribery was confirmed by the Citizens United decision, in which a conservative activist Supreme Court lifted corporate limitations on contributions. Another pillar of corruption is the abuse of the filibuster by the Republican Party, resulting in a 60-vote threshold for the passage of bills (background checks failed 54-46).

Of course we must keep agitating for sane gun control. Yesterday’s events, however, point to the need for reform that goes beyond gun regulations to uprooting the corruption that prevents the people’s will from being enacted.

Image: Stuart Carlson

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