Shame is not going to do it

I guess the reaction to the vote of the craven Senators yesterday on a bill that would have partially addressed the agreed upon need for a more universal background check of weapons purchasers is to try to shame them. That’s what a spectator said on leaving the chambers (the one who wrestled the unused clip from Jared Lochner). That’s what the email blast from Mayors Against Illegal Guns said. And that’s what former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford said in her justly outraged editorial for the New York Times today.

But Giffords above all should know that shame is not something that has much currency in Washington. The Capitol Building is filled with marionettes who say the most foolish, self-contradictory, outrageous crap, and all that it does is get them more contributions from the wealthy who pull their strings (in big checks) and the angry, disaffected, low information complainers who know something is wrong but have been manipulated into thinking that their misfortune is caused by a cabal of intellectuals, liberals, thinkers and “others” (in small checks). Gabby herself was once personally friends with these very marionettes. She saw them in action, but nonetheless she herself was known as a “moderate,” one who would go-along-to-get-along, a compromiser. One who believed that if you chip away enough at good policy you can bring these people along. It sounds like she is less sure now.

Friends, we are in a deep hole in this country. It is going to take a lot of organizing, educating, networking, and hard work. And money. But it’s going to take more than giving to groups who send petitions to Congress and do all their organizing online, however well meaning these groups may be. We lost a great deal of momentum and time and squandered 2008, by acting the codependents of a President who thought that bipartisanship was more important that the good of the country.

It’s going to take more than electoral wins. Its going to take reeducation. Can it be done before the plutocrats rob this country not only of its wealth but its very soul? I honestly don’t know, but it’s going to take more than shaming a few bought-off politicians who gave up their good name a long time ago.

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