Pale Green Politics and Guns
(October 22, 2012) Reality has little to do with American politics today. Public perception is the only reality that counts and when that perception is in conflict with our bipolar political system, politicians ignore it or special interest changes it.
The environment is an example of the former and gun control, the latter.
Where guns are concerned, a 2004 CBS/New York Times poll revealed overwhelming support for stricter gun control laws by more than a two to one margin. In a representative government like the United States, such support should result in two-thirds of all members of congress to be ‘up in arms’, to change existing laws. Alas, that won’t happen because of the ever-powerful and well-funded National Rifle Association (NRA).
In 2004 the NRA opposed renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, which banned many features of certain semiautomatic rifles and certain types of removable magazines – gun control advocates wanted to make the ban permanent and expand it. The NRA succeeded, and the ban expired at midnight on September 13, 2004.
In 2012 alone, the NRA spent nearly $15-M in direct contributions, lobbying and outside spending, which largely includes ad campaigns for or against targeted politicians.
Ignoring the Environment in 2012
Where the environment is concerned, the polls also show a similar disconnect between the public and their representatives.
In August a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation Poll found that 74% thought that the federal government should regulate the release of greenhouse gases from sources like power plants, cars and factories in an effort to reduce global warming?
Sixty percent said our natural environment has been degraded over the past ten years and 55% said things will get worse over the next ten years.
When asked if human activity had a mostly positive or mostly negative effect on the natural environment, about two-thirds responded negative.
With most all issues, it is very clear what the public believes and also what they want out of their congress, state governments and the President. What happens beyond that seems to be out of the control of your average American.
In my opinion there is one paramount issue, where all Americans need to concentrate their collective efforts to encourage a positive change. No, it’s not gun control or the environment… not jobs or the economy, but rather our unique political system, gone awry.
Lobbying needs to stop. Lobbyist for lobbying would argue that this is how politicians are informed and kept abreast of issues that affect their constituents. My argument is that if a politician doesn’t know how to turn on the TV and watch the news… he or she should step aside and make room for someone who can.
But most important, our political leaders need to get real. Thanks to the Supreme Court ‘Citizens United’ decision, corporations now have the same free speech rights as human beings. According to all polls (that I’ve read), the vast majority of all Americans think this is a joke! Our forefathers would’ve busted a gut over this one.
The only way “The American Dream” has any chance of surviving into the future is to first repeal Citizens United. After that, America will once again be a nation of individuals.
Then it’s up to you…
This You Tube video pokes fun at a subject that is no joke!
After writing the above post I came across the following (somewhat related) article from Scientific American. Similarly with my post, the S.A. article deals with the manipulation of public perception. A must read:
Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy
It is hard to know exactly when it became acceptable for U.S. politicians to be antiscience. For some two centuries science was a preeminent force in American politics, and scientific innovation has been the leading driver of U.S. economic growth since World War II. Kids in the 1960s gathered in school cafeterias to watch moon launches and landings on televisions wheeled in on carts. Breakthroughs in the 1970s and 1980s sparked the computer revolution and a new information economy. Advances in biology, based on evolutionary theory, created the biotech industry. New research in genetics is poised to transform the understanding of disease and the practice of medicine, agriculture and other fields.
The Founding Fathers were science enthusiasts … READ MORE