On Wednesday, the Senate considered and failed to pass several amendments to an increasingly endangered-looking gun bill. Most notably, a broadly supported amendment expanding background checks failed to overcome a GOP-led filibuster. Lots of people were angry about the failure, including President Obama.
One of those angry supporters of background checks, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), was able to voice her displeasure in The New York Times. She didn't hold back. "We know what we're going to hear: Vague platitudes like 'tough vote' and 'complicated issue,'" she says. But this was neither, Giffords argues. She says it was senators deciding to do the wrong thing, "based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association." Some of those senators have met with the parents of children killed in the Newtown, Conn., shootings, and some "who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago.... Shame on them," Giffords admonished. Here's an excerpt:
Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I'm furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe.... I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated. I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You've lost my vote. I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators' e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I'm asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You've disappointed me, and there will be consequences.
Our democracy's history is littered with names we neither remember nor celebrate — people who stood in the way of progress while protecting the powerful. On Wednesday, a number of senators voted to join that list.