Congress takes a lot of heat these days for moral cowardice and political expediency, among other sins. It’s deserved. But now and then we detect a voice of reason among the murmurs. Comes now Elizabeth Warren, outspoken liberal from Massachusetts, who declares that she refuses to accept donations from the National Rifle Association. This comes as no surprise. She has never received any money from the NRA.
No, hers is a symbolic gesture to make a point, the same one I have suggested in previous blogs. As public officials at every level tie themselves into pretzels trying to come up with a solution to gun violence, we know that the fix is simple, or should be: take away NRA’s donations to those who make the rules, members of Congress.
We’re talking about serious money here. The NRA has given $846 million to members of Congress, according to latest figures available. That’s a lot. Imagine how much good could be accomplished with such a sum spent wisely. All but $22 million of that NRA largesse went to the wallets of Republicans. John McCain tops the list of those receiving the most at $7.7 million plus, with two of my state’s shameful senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, raking in $6.9 million and $4.4 million respectively. These big bucks buy votes, of course, and, it must be pointed out, help to finance the murder or our children.
Elizabeth Warren is not alone in her pledge, but she is the first senator. She joins more than 200 other political office holders and candidates who refuse to accept NRA’s money. Predictably, most of these are Democrats. Remember this when you vote.
“I’m running for re-election to the U.S. Senate here in Massachusetts, and I pledge not to take a single penny from the National Rifle Association,” Sen. Warren said. “The people of Massachusetts deserve to be represented by someone who will put their interests ahead of the NRA’s demands,” she said. Indeed. So do all of us across America.
Would Congress pass legislation that would keep themselves from accepting NRA money, taking away their friendly NRA piggy bank? Not going to happen in my lifetime. That would go a long way to solving our nation’s gun violence problem, though, without doubt.
But we do salute the guts and integrity of those who voluntarily refuse to accept NRA’s blood-stained dollars and talk about it publicly. To them, we say continue to use your voices, and let the nation hear you. We are listening. And voting.