“It begs the question: Who are we here to represent?”

Senate votes on background check bill

It really does. How in holy hell does a measure that has over 90% support in the public fail in the Senate? Apparently, a reasoned approach to gun ownership and safety, or any tools to mitigate gun violence in America, is patently ridiculous to members of Congress.

Gabby Giffords sounded off in a New York Times op-ed published late yesterday skewering Congress for their failure to rise to reason and surpass partisan politics. She asked us to join the next round of the fight in the best way we know how: at the ballot box.

I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated. I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You’ve lost my vote. I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators’ e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I’m asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You’ve disappointed me, and there will be consequences.

And there has to be. There has to be this time. Here’s a handy dandy list of the twitter handles for the “no” voters. Midterm elections for some of these folks are coming up in the next year. As responsible and reasoned citizens, we have to be vigilante. Our memories will need to be longer. A lobby has proven to be more intimidating than the constituencies that support these officials. 

Shit is so fucked up in Congress that some actually argued that parents and victims of gun violence in America had resorted to emotional blackmail in talking to representatives on the Hill to support measure that would keep guns away from people with criminal records or histories of domestic violence. It’s emotional blackmail and manipulation to have the families of gun violence from Newtown to Chicago lobby members of Congress to create laws to regulate gun sales and the purchase of ammunition online?

To quote Mr. Obama: Are you serious?

These are the same people who believe that we don’t have enough information to make our own reproductive choices, and push to require unnecessary medical procedures. We are required to go through a series of tests to operate a motor vehicle. We are required to undergo a series of tests to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. We get our references checked for jobs, and we are subject to credit score checks to purchase a home, or even to be deemed eligible for a credit card. And yet we are not required to undergo any background checks to purchase and own a firearm.

It’s amazing when you consider the cognitive dissonance here. I think it’s high time we redefine the term “pro-life” in this political landscape.

It’s time to turn the tables.

SYREETA MCFADDEN is a Brooklyn based writer, photographer and adjunct professor of English. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and Storyscape Journal. She is the managing editor of the online literary magazine, Union Station, and a co-curator of Poets in Unexpected Places. You can follow her on Twitter @reetamac.

Syreeta McFadden is a contributing opinion writer for The Guardian US and an editor of Union Station Magazine.

Read more about Syreeta

Join the Conversation