The American people are in shock that 46 members of the U.S. Senate turned their backs on the will of the people and rejected a compromise measure that would have expanded gun purchase background checks. President Obama summed it up well: All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington.
It was shameful because of the desperate need to protect innocent children and other citizens from the irrational and ruthless violence that rigorous background checks would help to prevent. It was shameful because, as polls reflect, 90% of the people all over the country, irrespective of where they live, what they do or their political orientation, support stronger background checks for the purchase of guns.
It is clear that at least some U.S. Senators who voted against the background check measure did so out of fear that the powerful gun lobby would pour money into attack ads to defeat them in their next campaign. That, too, is shameful.
The time has come for all individuals who seek public office to do so with the thought that service in a legislative body is a high calling, that it is a privilege to serve even one term, and it is better to risk defeat by voting your conscience and doing what is right than to ensure reelection by bending to the power of special interests. A legislator will get more gratification, lifelong inner peace and ultimate respect by the community at large if he or she approaches each issue on the merits without any thought of political consequences, and without fear of the next campaign and potential electoral defeat.