For the past several decades the Republican Party has cobbled together an alliance between “social conservatives” and “fiscal conservatives” to create a powerful political bloc of voters. As a result, the Republican Party has had to vigorously embrace policies that are hostile to the Supreme Court guaranteed right of women for a safe a legal abortion. They successfully shifted the argument away from privacy, freedom, and the life of the pregnant woman to the sanctity of life for a fetus.
At the same time, the Republican Party has made itself subservient to the wishes of gun manufacturers in America. This has been done in the name of protecting the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This allegiance has secured plenty of campaign financing and the loyalty of a small but avid group of paranoid survivalists who believe that at any moment either our society is about to collapse into anarchy or our government is about to transform into a dictatorship.
The reaction of American citizens to the Sandy Hook tragedy has tested the Republican Party. Nine out of ten Americans believe that no one should be able to buy a weapon without going through some sort of background check. It is a matter of protecting innocent life from crazy people with weapons. This issue has tested Republicans in two ways. First it has tested them to determine whether they represent special interest groups or the American voters. Second it has tested them to determine what sort of life they consider worthy of protection.
If we lived in a country with a democratic system where majority rules, it would now be impossible to buy guns without a background check. But such a law was not passed by Congress. In fact, such a law was never allowed to be considered by Congress because a minority of members of the Senate blocked it. Virtually all of these Senators were Republicans.
So we have learned several things. The Republican Party is not pro-life; they are pro-fetus, but first graders can be gunned down at school and they don’t think anything needs to be done about it. In state houses across America, Republican politicians are falling all over themselves to write new laws to protect fetuses, but they have no interest in passing laws to protect children.
The Republican Party does not represent people; they represent corporations. 90% of the people said, “do something,” but the gun lobby said, “do nothing.” When the relevant people rose up and demand action, and the relevant corporations rose up and say, “no,” Republicans listened to their corporate masters rather than the citizens they ostensibly represent.
The Republican Party doesn’t really believe in the power of democracy. They betray their party’s name because there is nothing “republican” about a bunch of people who betray those who they represent in order to please a lobbying group.
Many of us are angry about how the Republicans allowed the NRA to win this battle. It will be interesting to see whether our outrage and determination will prove strong enough and durable enough to win the war against gun violence in America.