FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Word I Shouldn’t Use

Growing up in Argentina, I had an English teacher named Sarah, a kind and knowledgeable woman. Reading one of my papers, in which I called a character in the story “a despicable man” she admonished me: “You shouldn’t use that word, César, it is too strong.” Now, decades later, I find that perhaps that word is not strong enough to describe the Florida legislators who overwhelmingly voted against a motion to consider legislation that would “ban assault rifles and large capacity magazines”. That this happened days after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) makes this even more ludicrous.

The legislators’ move came as teenage survivors of the Florida massacre watched the proceedings from the gallery. That wasn’t an obstacle for the GOP-controlled Florida House, who showed no shame and no regret for their actions. And I couldn’t help but wonder: Do these people have children? Do they have grandchildren? And if they do, how can they act that way? As Sheryl Acquaroli, a junior from Stoneman Douglas told CNN after the 36-71 party-line vote: “It seemed almost heartless how they immediately pushed the button to say no.”

Their behavior, though, is far from unique. Law-makers at the national level toe the same line. Although they are mostly Republicans, also some Democrats show the same disregard for people’s lives and safety, even for their own children and colleagues. The sums involved in the NRA donations are staggering, by any standard. Millions of dollars are given to lawmakers to vote according to NRA dictates. And the legislators, lacking any sense of decency, follow them.

I look at a photograph of members of the Florida House, as they observe a moment of silence for the victims of massacre. I cannot help but think of the high degree of hypocrisy that it demonstrates. They feel sorry for the victims but are unable to do anything meaningful to control sales of guns in the country, now at an all time level. An add in The New York Times by two gun control advocacy groups shows a photo of students leaving their school in fear during the shooting and a quote from one of the survivors: “We’re children. You guys are the adults…get something done.”

They will not do what needs to be done to completely eradicate gun violence in the country. Too much money is at stake. And by now we all know that in the confrontation between money for political power and ethics, money always wins. That those who may become victims may be their own children doesn’t enter into their consciousness.

The following are the representatives that received most money from the NRA: John McCain (R, AZ) – $7.74 million; Richard Burr (R, NC) – $6.99 million; Roy Blunt (R, MO) – $4.55 million; Thom Tillis (R, NC) – $4.42 million; Cory Gardner (R, CO) – $3.88 million. That all of them should be Republicans shouldn’t surprise anybody now.

Alfonso Calderon, a MSDHS Junior student, one of the survivors of the massacre and one of the leaders of the #NeverAgain movement, said at the Florida Capitol, “Everybody should remember this, we are just children…We aren’t being taken seriously enough…but trust me, we understand. I was in a closet, locked, for 4 hours, with people whom I almost considered family crying, and weeping and begging for their lives…I am extremely angry and sad. But I want everybody here to know that we will not be stopped, we will not be discouraged, we will not falter, and we will not stop this movement.”

As a society we have become oblivious to the suffering of others. That this lack of empathy is so clearly shown among those that are supposed to represent us is a sad commentary on the human condition.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail