Wednesday, January 16, 2013

President Obama, gun control, scapegoats (and other animals...)

Anyone else hear President Obama's address this morning? 

I thought Biden's committee came back with some good suggestions (although admittedly I fall into that liberal camp which would like to see much greater restrictions).  I was glad to see that the President appears ready to push forward on a number of proposals concerning background checks, limiting magazine rounds to ten and so forth.  And I realize that unfortunately he is going to get a huge pushback from all sorts of gun interests; not just the NRA but (as with livestock, research and other animal-related issues) from any groups who potentially could lose money by any tightening of regulations, no matter how many more people would benefit from those protections.

So far so good.  But - and if you follow this blog this is a familiar refrain - the President's remarks left something to be desired.  I understand he needs to take the public position that he believes in the individual rights to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment.  Yet, in his obvious effort to appeal to the American public and build a coalition of support to enact these gun reforms... as he tried to paint a picture of all of the types of law-abiding citizens who use guns and how all of these groups agree reform is necessary... he spoke approvingly of hunters and sportsmen.

Now yes, I am aware that hunting is largely a legal activity.  And I further realize that even people who advocate for animal rights don't necessarily believe that a non-human animal's worth should be on par with a human animal's worth.  But did he really have to throw all non-humans under the bus like that?  The reality is, that no matter how legal it might be, hunting is just as horrifying to the hunted no matter who they are.  And it is likewise de-sensitivizing to the hunters.

During his first term, Mr. Obama extended the immigration status of illegal alien students but stopped short of providing a path to citizenship.  He stopped fighting DOMA but wouldn't actually support LGBT rights until Joe Biden inadvertently forced the President's hand by being a much more stand-up guy.  These straddling, contorted positions become much more understandable when viewed thru the lens of my-biggest-concern-is-getting-reelected.  I understand that.  Everyone is protective of their job. 

But he doesn't have to worry about re-election anymore.  Mr. Obama, please get out there and LEAD.  Everyone - human and non-human alike - is counting on you.  Please don't throw one under a bus for the other.

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