“Thoughts and prayers”
With soul murdering invariability the lethal ritual continues. Republicans send “thoughts and prayers” while offering stupefyingly moronic “solutions,” such as stronger doors and less violent video games. The rest of us decry their venal hypocrisy. And on it goes, day upon day, week on week, year on year, decade on decade — and nothing changes. As I write this it’s the first 28 days of January, 2023, and there have been more mass shootings in America than the year has had days.
The helpless struggle against the tyranny of the American gun culture is now in its 24th year, depending on when you mark the beginning. I use the Columbine school massacre as one starting point. Pick another if you prefer. It doesn’t matter. The point is it’s getting worse and it’s getting older and we are wondering how much longer this is going to go on before Republicans finally wake up to the reality that gun violence is a nightmare that they helped to create.
I can tell you the answer without looking. The answer is never. I can also tell you I am sick and tired of listening to the absurd lamentations from the left. We behave as if all we need to do is to cry hard enough and long enough and loud enough and it will change. It won’t change because the people who perpetuate it won’t change.
The horror of gun proliferation is never, ever going to stop, and shame on us for suggesting otherwise. There is only one solution, we’ve always known what it is and we’ve always refused to take it. The shame, therefore, is also ours as well. That is why the blood of the victims of gun violence is on our hands as well.
The solution is so simple and so obvious I blush to tell it to you, brothers and sisters. We must, once and for all, get money out of politics. Not only will it virtually eliminate mass shootings, it will solve the problem of systemic reticence to begin useful solutions to climate change, stop insane military spending, disarm corporate greed leading to inflation and thwart the hegemony of monolithic companies.
Endemic gun violence exists in America for one reason and one reason alone, and it’s NOT the Second Amendment. Republicans don’t give a crap about the Constitution, and you are naive in the extreme if you think otherwise. All they care about is money and power, and there is money and power in guns, thanks to entities like the NRA. All that will go away the minute the government makes it a felony to bribe an American politician.
Wait a minute, you might say, isn’t it already a felony to bribe a politician? No it is not. In fact, it’s not even a secret, and it happens all the time. Huge bribing machines called lobbies and 527 organisations known as “Super PACs” are why hardly anything gets done in politics that’s remotely beneficial to the American people. For as long as evil entities like the NRA are able to use their considerable influence to fund political careers, the mass shooting will never, ever stop.
The solution is this: no more money in politics. It should be a felony punishable by not less than ten years in federal prison for trying. Members of Congress who enter poor and leave millionaires need to be a thing of the past, and exceptions should be subjected to relentless scrutiny and accountability.
Paid political advertisements should also be a thing of the past. All elective offices should begin with a one hundred dollar filing fee and ten thousand signatures gathered by volunteers.. That should be the beginning and the ending of campaign spending. Each candidate should get free airtime to state their platforms. Their platforms should be published in one place. And then let the American people decide.
Democrats won’t tell you about this solution because they are beneficiaries of it too. Instead they lament the awful state of affairs without ever once suggesting that it’s time to pull the plug. Well it’s time to pull the plug.
As long as money is in politics, rampant corruption will remain. Money needs to go, and violations need to be devastatingly severe. A political career should no longer be the golden road to riches. That way only those candidates who truly want to serve the American people will apply. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.