Trump Trips Over an Opportunity
President Donald Trump attempted to shame Congressional leaders in a White House meeting by saying they are afraid of the National Rifle Association. He ranted about how strange it was that an 18-year-old could buy an assault rifle, but not a handgun until he turned 21. He boasted that he had instructed his Attorney General to investigate executing a ban on “bum stocks” a device that turns a semi-automatic firearm into an automatic killing machine. That device was used in Las Vegas during the largest American mass shooting. It’s important to point out that the tragedy happened more than five months ago.
The President has done little. Congress has passed an omnibus bill, a catch all of budget funds, that had some “school safety” money in it, but they haven’t addressed any of the fundamental issues. A casual observer might suggest that the NRA got to Trump and turned him around. The NRA controls Congress and if they don’t act, nothing substantial gets done.
The student protest last weekend (3-24-2018) took place in Washington, DC and cities all over the country and the world. But the old white guys in Washington missed the reality that these protestors are feeding the voter rolls. The youth of the nation has taken up a cause to march for their own lives.
When Donald Trump was shown pictures of Syrian children being gassed, he dropped a couple of bombs within days. I guess no one showed him the pictures of American kids in classrooms lying in their own blood. Maybe someone should confront him with those images. Maybe that could break the spell the NRA has cast over all those with power in Washington. This organization claims their root origins are rifle and gun safety, but their rhetoric is political and ideological. The organization is no longer just a lobbyist. They are, in-effect, a political action committee with guns.
One could ask a simple question. If President Trump cares so much about going after radical terrorism in America – in the name of Mexican cartel gangs – why is it so easy for them to get assault weapons? The NRA fights hard to thwart any gun control, meaning they are complicit with arming the bad guys. Can’t our governmental leaders see that?
I had the pleasure of going to one of the many rallies (Sarasota, FL) and was totally impressed with the young people who spoke. Many of the people I heard graduated from Stoneman Douglas High School, had friends who attended the school or were just kids with a strong message. These are fresh and honest voices who understand the game. They know who is responsible in Washington for their lack of action. This isn’t Pollyanna optimism.
The messaging of the one million student marchers was consistent. It was as if a schooled marketing expert had guided the way, or maybe these kids are experts. They learned social media techniques from a very early age and they used those skills to bring masses of protesters together. They also know that they have to change the system, or at least the people who rule, to get what they want.
And what exactly do they want? First, safe schools. That is a non-partisan issue. Then more gun controls. They want the age limit raised to 21-years of age for gun ownership. They talked about universal background checks, which, from this writer’s perspective, means a national database. Those words make a certain organization nervous.
When kids cheer, “Hey, Hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?” they get the clenched fists and jaws of the NRA. And they get Fox News with blowhards saying that they are somehow part of a left-wing conspiracy. That is not going to deter these young thinkers. They have figured out that gun violence is the problem. Even Sir Paul McCartney marched in New York. He pointed out that one of his best friends was killed by gun violence. You might remember him, John Lennon.
Trump was presented an opportunity to unite one demographic group here, and he blew it. The message that was sent must have been written by the weekend communications intern. It read: “We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today. Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President’s.”
Yes, this is the moment you realize that no one is steering this ship and a person named Lindsay Walters, White House spokeswoman, was the only connective tissue between the issue and the President, who was busy playing golf. Donald Trump doesn’t care about gun law reform. He’s another do nothing President.
After Trump’s dinner with the NRA, he sold his soul and the lives of thousands of students in America by trying to please a group he believes controls his base. As we walked from the protest last weekend with our signs, a large truck came around the bend and I could see the NRA sticker in the window. The driver leaned out and yelled, “You fucking idiots!” Then it dawned on me. There are millions of NRA members who fear their guns will be taken away. These are the Trump people.
According to the Celebrity Net Worth website, the CEO of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, is worth $10 million and his annual take averages around $1 million but has been as high as $5 million. So, he’s not only protecting guns, he’s guarding a sizable income. Think about it. He makes more money than the President of the United States. The NRA is the opposing force to getting better laws and systems for gun regulation.
If Trump would have watched the TV coverage of the marches, he would have seen the crowds were much bigger than his inauguration. The President should realize that many of these kids will be voting in 2020. If he has any serious desire to get re-elected, he should have responded with a little more gravitas and meaning than the plastic drivel of that canned statement. Maybe he was thinking more about a porn star, a bunny and a singer than the safety of Americans in our schools.
Donald Trump has deeply sunken in his own swamp. He is complicit and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a con man politician looking out only for himself. In the end, this New York political boss will get richer from being President because he’s changing laws to benefit himself and his family. His attempt to become an American oligarch must be foiled, now.
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