In my previous gun violence-related blog, I promised we'd be back to this soon with the next mass shooting. But even I didn't expect that period would be less than a month!! And honestly I have little new to say on the subject. So I just stand in awe of the political gag wielded by the NRA. Again our politicians spend a single news cycle giving us more platitudes about the awfulness of it all and how we have a problem with gun violence. Then it's on to business as usual, which right now means jumping back onto their election fundraising schedule.
When you look at the social, financial, and political problems facing the nation, improving gun control seems a) daunting, in the face of NRA power, and b) just another of the many straws breaking the camel's back. The enormity of the issues facing America and the world can easily take the wind out of one's sails. Reproductive rights. Terrorism. Israel/Palestine/Syria/the Larger Middle East. Militarization. Global warming. Financial reforms. Employment. Rising health costs. Political polarization. Defense of Constitutional freedoms. Immigration reform. Shrinking energy resources (and growing needs). Food and clean water shortages. Internet freedom, access, and equality. AIDS. Etc, etc. In some ways it all makes the Cold War era challenges look simplistic.
I've struggled with where to apply my activism energies in such a way as to effect maximum impact. When you just focus on one issue, say like gun control, it's too easy to get distracted by all the other waving tendrils of danger and dysfunction throughout the rest of society. Plus the issue is so polarized that real solutions become almost impossible. So I've decided to try and side step those symptoms and focus myself on the cause: the very unglamorous issue of campaign finance reform.
Almost all of the issues facing us today seem intractable because of the power of money in the political process. And the primary reason money holds such sway is because elections/re-elections are increasing expensive propositions. That matter was only made worse by the US Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Until the power of money in our political process can be mitigated, matters will simply be resolved in favor of the highest bidder.
So, I'm greatly disheartened and frustrated by this weekend's shootings in Wisconsin, but it's resulted in a kind of political action clarity for me. A focus on treating the problem and not the many, many symptoms. Additionally (the unglamorous issue of) campaign finance reform isn't a party-specific issue. The problem extends to all citizens whose voice is not being heard over the flood of coin from interests like the NRA. That leads to a little more unity and clarity as to the desired end game.
All this said, what I REALLY wanted to write about (before ugly reality reared its head) was how cool it was to watch Curiosity's landing on Mars and how impressively flawless the mission has been so far. And, of course, to point you to some great arts you might have missed on DA. And those are...