The tragic shootings in Aurora, Co.that left 12 innocent victims dead and 58 more wounded are a reminder of the senseless crimes perpetrated in Columbine.
Now, as then, the crime appears to be the act of a young man (a tandem at Columbine) dissociated from reality and alienated from civil society.
Now, as then, the mourning of the families and loved ones affected by this egregious act of domestic terrorism is circumscribed by the deafening silence of our political leaders on the ultimate cause of this senseless act - a horrendously inadequate understanding of and relationship to the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The so-called conservatives on the right, propped up by the massive NRA lobby, vehemently defend the ”right” of every citizen to purchase as many AK-47 assault rifles, handguns, and as much ammo without proper restrictions as one can afford. The inappropriately monikered liberals have chosen the politically expedient but reprehensible road of silence, neutered by the fear of losing votes amongst the blue collar, white electorate that alienated Al Gore in 2000.
What conservative politicians fail to understand, rather, have a financial stake in ignoring is that the increasing spectre of gun violence across the nation places them on the opposite pole of a desire by the vast majority of sane Americans for peace and prosperity in the homeland.
What liberal politicians have failed to recognize while hiding their heads in the sand is that those blue collar, white voters have been so thoroughly indoctrinated by the neo-conservative, bible thumping movement that they WILL NOT vote for a liberal under any circumstances, not matter how much you alienate the core values that FDR, JFK, RFK, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton laid down as the lode stone of liberal principles.
However, I see why so many people are dazed and confused, even perplexed by what exactly our two political parties stand for.
Republicans scream from the pulpits that America needs to return to her Judeo-Christian origins (a pretense that our deist Founding Fathers would decry with a mixture of bemusement and acrimony) while simultaneously endorsing the propagation of instruments of violence - a direct affront to that fundamental commandment that Moses brought down from Mt. Sonai....”Thou shalt not kill”.
Liberals passive aggressively, if at all, shout from state and national capitols that stricter gun control legislation needs to be enacted while simultaneously defending the ”right” of mothers to destroy life en utero and acting in concert with their conservative brethren to dismantle the social safety net of the most vulnerable segments of our society in the guise of Welfare Reform.
You may not like it but I will say it anyway. The blood that was shed in Aurora, CO. and Columbine before that is on the hands of all voting age Americans. We have sold our Republic to sociopaths in tailored suits and groomed coifs in return for buzz words, campaign slogans, and empty promises. We have failed to hold our elected officials to the oaths that they swear or affirm. Those of us who do not even bother to visit the polling station are the worst offenders because we have shirked the one duty that truly makes us worthy of citizenship with all of its benefits in tow.
The nation's founders knew from experience that, in the absence of free elections and a free press, that our only defense against the tyranny of a government drunk on the punch of absolute power would be the business end of a gun (IN A WELL REGULATED MILITIA). What they could not anticipate is that we would outsource our responsibility for oversight of the government to the government and then effective ask the fox to guard the hen house.
As we near yet another election cycle, it should be abundantly clear that our two choices are but differing shades of business as usual. One group will tell you that the other wants to take away your rights so you hurriedly give them away in return for protection.
In the end, power is consolidated into legislative bodies. The old divide and conquer strategy works to perfection again. We have a fundamental decision to make. Either we'll choose to be the stewards of our Republic the way it was intended to be or we'll continue to waltz right into a controlled existence.
When that happens, there won't be any number of amendments that will be able to pry our freedoms out of the hands that were all too eager to accept them.
You hear that faint thud? That's the sound of the final nails being driven into the coffin of the Republican Party. Last night, President Barack Obama successfully defended his incumbency, beating Republican nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, procuring over 50% of the popular vote. With his victory last night, President Obama became the first Democrat to reach 50% in the popular vote for two consecutive election since before the Civil War. Mitt Romney made a good showing in the race, receiving nearly 49 million votes with 98% of precincts reporting. In the end, it appears that the Republican platform on Women's Rights, immigration, taxes and foreign policy left many voters wanting, leaving women and minorities ripe for the harvest by President Obama and the Democratic Party. The story of this election is not so much what the Democrats have done right over the past 4 years (Affordable Care Act, not defending the Defense of Marriage Act, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, etc.) but rather how the Republican Party has done an outstanding job of alienating itself from a growing majority in this country. Whether it is Mitt Romney stating behind closed doors that 47% of the country are looking for government handouts or Todd Akin (who lost his effort to gain a Senate seat) introducing the term "justifiable rape" into the American political lexicon or Republican led initiative in Arizona to make citizens that look "illegal" show documentation to prove their right to be in America, Republicans have consistently taken stances against a growing portion of the total electorate. In much the same way that the tree hugging, gay supporting, immigrant laden leftist portion of the Democratic Party has a tremendous amount of influence on President Obama's agenda, the gun toting, bible thumping, tax reforming xenophobic elements of the Tea Party far right have hijacked the Republican ticket and moved its platform so far to the right that moderate Republicans like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush would hardly recognize party. Romney, a moderate Republican from Massachusetts, had to move so far off of his usual stances that he came off as being indecisive, wishy washy and, worse, disingenuous. However, this leaves a very significant opportunity for the future of the Republican Party. They will be out of presidential power for the next 4 years (to go along with a slight reduction of seats in both the House and Senate) so they will have the opportunity to hibernate, much like the Democrats after the 2000 election, and get their political PR campaign in order. In addition, as has been evidenced by enthusiastic youth support for the recent presidential campaign of Ron Paul as well as the skyrocketing sales of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, a war weary electorate that sees unemployment consistently north of 7%, diminishing take home pay, and consistent attacks on fundamental constitutional liberties is hungry for a socially liberal, fiscally conservative politician that espouses an agenda of non-interventionist foreign policy, aggressive domestic development, and an eye toward limiting the influence of bureaucratic institutions in the social lives of private citizens. The electorate is hungry for a politician that will limit the massive influence that the Federal Reserve has on monetary policy, has a progressive agenda for developing energy reserves here at home so that our dependence on foreign fuel is limited or even eliminated, and that taxes individuals on what they consume, not for being productive members of society. The citizens who believe that a Libertarian, Constitutionalists political structure is right course of action to secure the future of American greatness as a world power are a growing majority that cuts across race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. If the Republican Party hopes to survive into the 21st century, they must divorce themselves from the hate-driven, bigoted elements of their party and bring all people under the umbrella of expanding individual rights and freedoms. The Democratic Party platform has procured a majority of the electorate over the past 4 years but there is still nearly 49% of voters, mostly in the south and Grand Canyon states, who identify with the Republican Party or disapprove of the Democratic agenda in this country. In order for the Democratic Party to remain relevant beyond 2016, they must continue to take the lead on the progressive social issues of our time while also taking steps to address concerns from the right related to fiscal responsibility, the 2nd Amendment, and religious freedom. Democrats must make a concerted effort to reach rural, white voters and convince them that their values and beliefs have a prominent place in Democratic tent. This means returning to Liberalism in the true laissez-faire origins of the word. Despite Democratic gains, I believe that the Republicans have a very real opportunity to become the party of the 21st century. In order to do this, Republican leaders must abandon the Karl Rove, Dick Chaney, Rupert Murdoch party of old and embrace socially liberal, fiscally conservative voters that is inclusive of citizens of different races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations. If Republicans are willing to undertake this monumental task, they will once again become the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt - America's team.