There is an ad running on Arizona television stations that is bringing a lot of negative scrutiny to our junior U.S. Senator, Jeff Flake. In that ad the mother of one of the shooting victims at the movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, a Phoenix resident by the name of Caren Teves, tells about a letter that she sent to Senator Flake asking for his support on legislation for expanding the system of background checks on gun purchases. Senator Flake did her the courtesy of writing back, in longhand. In his reply to the mother of the murdered young man, the senator promised her that he would support a system of expanded background checks.
But when legislation to that effect was voted on in the United States Senate on April 17th of this year, Senator Flake succumbed to the mythology of the National Rifle Association, a political fallacy that the organization continually foists on elected officials - the notion that it is all-powerful and can destroy politicians who support any type of firearms regulation, no matter how sensible it is. Flake caved and voted against the expanded background checks.
(Most polls show that nearly 90% of Americans favor extended background checks for gun purchases.)
And now that Colorado mom is on television, day-after-day, quoting from Flake's reply to her and stating clearly that he is not a man of his word.
Mrs. Teves also confronted Arizona's senior senator, John McCain, at a town hall meeting about the need to get assault weapons off of our nation's streets. McCain told her, to the cheers of a roomful of drooling mouth-breathers, that Congress would never support a ban on assault weapons, and that she was in need of some "straight talk" on the matter.
Ironically, both Arizona senators with their relentless pandering to the NRA are out of sync with the majority of American voters and a change in American values. The tide is turning, and, as in the case of gay marriage, it is turning swiftly. Both men face a gloomy future of being stuck on a sandbar listening to an incoherent Wayne LaPierre spouting drivel and waxing nostalgic for an America that has moved on.
There is an article in the May 28th issue of The New Republic by Alec MacGills entitled: "This is How the NRA Ends." And while that title may sound a bit overly hopeful and optimistic, the writer does a good job of exposing the false mythology of the NRA and showing how Mayors Against Illegal Guns, under the leadership of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is creating a pro-gun control campaign that mirrors the NRA in its organization and ruthlessness.
Bloomberg's group, as well as one formed by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly - and others, are bringing pressure to bear on the politicians who turn their backs on the wishes of the public and instead carry water for the NRA. According to the article by Mr. MacGillis, Bloomberg used the vote on this issue to determine which senators to support for reelection and which to oppose. Much to Harry Reid's chagrin, two that the mayor and his group will be actively working against are David Pryor, a Democrat from Arkansas, and Mark Begich, a Democrat from Alaska - both of whom genuflected to the NRA when they should have stood tall.
The point of the article in The New Republic is that the NRA is not as mighty as they wish us to believe. The writer noted that the NRA supported sixteen senate candidates in the 2012 election, and of those thirteen lost. He also noted that the percentage of Americans who own guns is decreasing.
Clearly the National Rifle Association has seen better days. Their new cammies are made with invisible thread - and the public is finally seeing them for what they are - a bunch of buffoons and bullies whose self-interest clearly does not match that of the nation.
Does this shifting public sentiment portend the end of the NRA? One can only hope.