Regarding today’s vote on expanded gun background checks:
I hope someone is writing a book called “Profiles in Cowardice” to describe the 45 pathetic Senators this country has.
I noticed the other day what Tumblr writes on their log-in page: Follow the world’s creators.
It’s as if they believe the site has enough original blogs and enough of the blogs which just re-blog the originals. It’s as if they want to say, ’if you’re new to Tumblr, you should make an account just to follow the creators who have been using Tumblr for a while - not to create any of your own content.’
As with guns, some auto deaths are caused by people who break laws or behave irresponsibly. But we don’t shrug and say, “Cars don’t kill people, drunks do.” Instead, we have required seat belts, air bags, child seats and crash safety standards. We have introduced limited licenses for young drivers and tried to curb the use of mobile phones while driving. All this has reduced America’s traffic fatality rate per mile driven by nearly 90 percent since the 1950s. Some of you are alive today because of those auto safety regulations. And if we don’t treat guns in the same serious way, some of you and some of your children will die because of our failure.
He told us we aren’t working hard enough. We aren’t instilling values deep enough. We aren’t thinking enough. We aren’t worthy of a pat on the back. And I thank him for that. He could have talked only of God, mercy, and angels - and no one would have said anything of it. But he started the hard conversation that we simply aren’t doing enough. That we are making excuses. He made us question whether we are worthy of the joys of having children and made us question the determination that we claim to have. Are we doing enough? No. Thank you for telling us that tonight, Mr. President.
Gun massacres have happened many times in many countries; in every other country, the gun laws have been tightened to reflect the tragedy and the tragic knowledge of its citizens afterward. In every other country, gun massacres have subsequently become rare. In America alone, gun massacres, most often of children, happen with hideous regularity, and they happen with hideous regularity because guns are hideously and regularly available.
The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children. They have made a clear moral choice: that the comfort and emotional reassurance they take from the possession of guns is, placed in the balance even against the routine murder of innocent children, of supreme value. Whatever satisfaction gun owners take from their guns—we know for certain that there is no prudential value in them—is more important than children’s lives. Give them credit: life is making moral choices, and that’s a moral choice, clearly made.
All of that is a truth, plain and simple, and recognized throughout the world. At some point, this truth may become so bloody obvious that we will know it, too. Meanwhile, congratulate yourself on living in the child-gun-massacre capital of the known universe.
You’re the reason why an outstanding soldier won’t be kicked out of our military just because of who he loves. You’re the reason why families all across this country can welcome home loved ones who served us so bravely, give them that hug, know they’re back and safe. You’re the reason. That’s how change happened.
Now, yesterday, I made this same point at a town hall in Florida. I said, one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington just from the inside. You change it from the outside. You change it because people are mobilized. You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to make their voices heard because of the decency and the goodness and the common sense of Americans. That’s what moves the country forward.
Now, for some reason my opponent got really excited. He rewrote his speech real quick. He stood up at a rally, proudly declared, ‘I’ll get the job done from the inside.’ What kind of inside job is he talking about? Is it the job of rubberstamping the top-down, you’re-on-your-own agenda of this Republican Congress? Because if it is, we don’t want it. If it’s the job of letting oil companies run our energy policy, we don’t want it. If it’s the job of letting politicians decide who you can marry, or control the health care choices that women should be able to make for themselves, we’ll take a pass.
We don’t want an inside job in Washington. We want change in Washington. And from the day we began this campaign, we’ve always said that change takes more than one term or even one President, and it certainly takes more than one party. It can’t happen if you write off half the nation before you even took office.
In 2008, 47 percent of the country didn’t vote for me. But on the night of the election, I said to all those Americans, ‘I may not have won your vote but I hear you voices, I need your help, and I will be your President.’ And for everybody who is watching, or anybody here who is still undecided, I don’t know how many people are going to vote for me this time around, but I’m telling the American people I will be fighting for you no matter what. I will be your President no matter what.
—President Obama in Virginia today (via barackobama)