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We have a profound failure of leadership in government today, a perfect storm of unprincipled and disconnected behavior: a corrupt Republican president, feckless Republican Senate, and ideologically biased Supreme Court. All have contributed to the rise of gun violence and white national radicalism.
President Trump’s constant ugly divisive rhetoric inspires white nationalist violence.
A recent incident where a Trump rally-goer in Florida suggested shooting immigrants was met by the president with humor and followed by back-to-back massacres in El Paso and Dayton. One example out of thousands of his imprudence.
Chief Justice Roberts’ pledge of “stare decisis” during his confirmation hearing, a pledge to the adherence of precedent, was out the door as soon as he was in.
Three landmark cases by this court ushered in this era of treacherous government.
Citizens United radically changed the principle of one person-one vote to one dollar-one vote, all but guaranteeing the emergence of a rich, white, craven Republican majority, all bought lock, stock and barrel, which leads us to the court’s next decision.
Heller v. Columbia guaranteed an individual’s right to bear arms, unconnected with service or defense of country, an understanding of the Second Amendment unbroken for almost 200 years. Now, purists on the court would welcome a test of other restrictions like requiring permits for open carry.
The third decision overturned a provision of the Voting Rights Act key to combating racial discrimination in voting, producing racially motivated, extreme political gerrymandering in the South.
These decisions more than anything else resulted in government overrepresented by conservative white men more concerned with profits than country, with power than safety.
Constitutional rights are fundamental, not absolute. We have no absolute rights, not to speech, not to assembly and not guns.
The epidemic of gun violence and hatred has found fertile ground in this government.
We must take back our government, which starts with voting at local and state levels. Weed out extreme conservatives who align with organizations like the NRA.
And ultimately, kick Trump and the rest of the stupid and dangerous out of office in 2020.
Deborah A. Baro