Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Political Courage


Regarding the Senate's failure to pass the Manchin and Toomey bill in 2013, President Obama said: “A few months ago, in response to too many tragedies -- including the shootings of a United States Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, who's here today, and the murder of 20 innocent schoolchildren and their teachers -- this country took up the cause of protecting more of our people from gun violence.

“Families that know unspeakable grief summoned the courage to petition their elected leaders -- not just to honor the memory of their children, but to protect the lives of all our children.  And a few minutes ago, a minority in the United States Senate decided it wasn't worth it.  They blocked common-sense gun reforms even while these families looked on from the Senate gallery.

“By now, it's well known that 90 percent of the American people support universal background checks that make it harder for a dangerous person to buy a gun.  We're talking about convicted felons, people convicted of domestic violence, people with a severe mental illness.   Ninety percent of Americans support that idea.  Most Americans think that's already the law.

“And a few minutes ago, 90 percent of Democrats in the Senate just voted for that idea.  But it's not going to happen because 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate just voted against that idea. 

“A majority of senators voted "yes" to protecting more of our citizens with smarter background checks.  But by this continuing distortion of Senate rules, a minority was able to block it from moving forward.

“I'm going to speak plainly and honestly about what's happened here because the American people are trying to figure out how can something have 90 percent support and yet not happen.  We had a Democrat and a Republican -– both gun owners, both fierce defenders of our Second Amendment, with "A" grades from the NRA -- come together and worked together to write a common-sense compromise on background checks.  And I want to thank Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey for their courage in doing that.  That was not easy given their traditional strong support for Second Amendment rights.”

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