What Does Congress Have To Do with Cockroaches & Guns?


Posted on January 14, 2013 by Ruth O’Brien

It would have never occurred to me to compare Congress to cockroaches.  What a pair.  Not quite a fair comparison if one believes in apples-to-apples, or at least apples-to-pears — that comparisons should stay within the same category of, say, well-rounded fruit.  But then again, withcockroaches getting a higher rating than Congress, who cares?  Wild comparison or no, Congress should rethink its appalling lack of leadership.

Congressional politics as we know it — the politics of obstruction, sabotage, and delay — is not working.   Congressional leaders should take a good look at their institution and ask Do they really want to give up?  Can executive action do it all?  And no, I’m not talking about the debt ceiling.

After the Newtown elementary-school shooting, it was Obama who stepped into the lurch, calling on Vice President Joe Biden to convene a task force.  And what does this task force recommend be done first?  What can the executive branch do?  It can enforce existing laws.  With only .0005 percent of those who “lie and try” to get guns being taken to court, the Justice Department can increase prosecutions.  Since the data shows 28 percent of these liars commit violent crimes, there is nothing wrong with this.

But is it enough?  It’s great Obama is not compared to cockroaches.  It’s terrific he steps into the leadership void and starts protecting American schoolchildren.  But public opinion is clearly pleading with Congress to step up and start doing its job.  There is much more to be done to stop gun violence in the U.S.

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About Ruth O'Brien

Professor Ruth O'Brien, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY) & Honorary Unaffiliated Academic Book Series Editor for The Public Square, Princeton University Press & Heretical Thought, Oxford University Press, USA Last book: Out of Many, One: Obama & the Third American Political Tradition (U of Chicago 2013). Nickname: Professorette by Rush Limbaugh (see http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Faculty/Core-Bios/Ruth-O-Brien)

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