Undoubtedly the most poignant moment of President Obama's 2013 State of the Union address was the "They deserve a vote" refrain when he spoke on gun violence. It was widely reported that several victims (and their surviving families) of gun violence were guests in the House chamber during the President's address. The bulk of his address was about the economy. Like many, I wondered when he would speak on gun violence. He didn't speak long about it, but what he said ultimately overshadowed the rest of his speech. Immediately, the cynicism set in. All of the analysts referred to the "vote" as all the President was going to get from Congress. No new laws; just a vote. I won't be naive and say that surely Congress will do more. I am among the overwhelming majority that disapproves of Congress. But "the vote" being all that the President was going to get was not my first thought. Perhaps no new laws will emerge, but in the wake of all of this tragedy when the country wants something done, get our legislators on record. Make them show their political courage/cowardice whether for or against. Don't hide behind the congressional procedures that would inhibit a vote. Debate and make the arguments both for and against tougher gun laws. Don't just hope that the public will forget about it. Don't just hope that another headline will steal the attention away from the countless victims of gun violence. Let our elected leaders stand in the face of the victims and their families and say "Yea" or "Nay." At the very least THEY DESERVE A VOTE!
I will conclude by saying as I was considering what pictures to use in this post I began to think that just the pictures of the high profile victims alone would fill this space. There are many others that we do not know about. This is not acceptable. This should not become the new normal. Chris Hayes tweeted about how there is now a media "go-to" list for mass shootings. That is not okay. These people should not have to be on guard for calls asking for their comments yet again because of senseless violence. I know many times we feel powerless and helpless and just settle for the world as it is. I have to tell you though we are not powerless nor helpless when it comes to slowing gun violence in this country. Let's keep the pressure on our elected officials. That pressure in the short-term can minimally bring about a vote. That pressure over the long haul can make our country safer, as it should be.