The following is an editorial by PoliticusUSA co-publisher and managing editor Sarah Jones.
Here’s a thing that’s happening that makes no sense, except that it makes perfect sense.
In the understandable frustration resulting from yet another mass shooting due to our NRA Congre$$ and the loud, frothing fanatics who won’t allow anyone to even broach the subject of gun control laws, people have taken to blaming President Obama.
Piers Morgan wrote an excellent manifesto about how tired he was of it all, of the absurdity of it. And yet in one section he took aim at Obama, blaming him for doing nothing but biting his lip to look like he cared, when he “has done absolutely nothing to stop these atrocities happening.”
Only President Obama personally knew many of the South Carolina church shooting victims, so I’m pretty sure he cared. Probably more than Piers Morgan did, actually. There is no evidence to suggest that he doesn’t care, in fact, the opposite can be said. After the horrific, unthinkable mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, while our lawmakers blamed guns and Republicans took to arming schools so the NRA could make even more money, President Obama did all he could from his office, where laws are not made.
Obama issued a series of 23 executive actions to address the gun culture. Here’s what President Obama tried to do:
1. Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands;
2. Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence;
3. Making schools safer
4. Increasing access to mental health services.
Obama took executive action where he could, over federal agencies. That is where the President’s power ends when it comes to implementing an agenda. Americans might wish to recall that Republicans threatened to impeach President Obama over this list of executive actions on gun safety.
So to blame Obama for any failure to change the laws is to lash out at one of the few people willing to take on the NRA. That’s not helping.
Obama’s actions did not change our gun culture or magically pass reasonable gun ownership laws for which the President advocated. That is because the President is not a lawmaker or King.
What else is Obama supposed to do? People want him to get angry and go on a rant about race and guns, but he is the first black president. Of course he can’t do that, even if it were in his nature, and it’s not. That’s not how he expresses anger. It’s not how he gets justice. Osama bin Laden can tell you that.
But even if it were, one of the things that comes with white, rich, male privilege is the idea that everyone has the same freedoms. They don’t. Hillary Clinton can’t be forceful without terrifying a good section of the country and Barack Obama can’t get angry without terrifying a good section of the country.
Welcome to the reality of being a minority.
Meanwhile the right wing media is attacking President Obama for calling for gun safety legislation in the aftermath of the Charleston shooting. They are calling him a Fascist and a sicko. They blame Obama for “politicizing” the terrorist attack on a black church.
If anyone other than the terrorist who pulled the trigger is to blame, it could be said that the right wing media that slobbers on cue for the NRA bears some culpability for their fear-mongering, outright lies, and constant stoking of white fear.
No, this isn’t President Obama’s fault and to even waste a moment on him as an easy target is to excuse those whose are actually at fault. Those who actually push for more and more guns, with no background checks — even for criminals.
We as a nation are sick right now. We are complacent. We have allowed the greedy, devouring demands of the NRA to matter more than life. We let children be slaughtered and did nothing. Now a church full of kind people who opened their hearts to a monster terrorist have been murdered. He even said that they were so nice to him but he killed them anyway.
This is who we are. We won’t pass gun regulations even after this. This is not Obama’s fault.
No president can change these facts; presidents don’t make laws. Congress does. And both chambers are run by Republicans, who would rather this whole country blew up than even debate a gun control law. We have only further empowered them to cater to the rich whites of the NRA.
Naturally we will blame the first black President for our failures. This is what we do. And we wonder then why the media won’t call Dylann Roof a terrorist and why they immediately call a black male victim a thug. Isn’t that what we are all doing?
I am most specifically sick of people blaming Obama because it does absolutely nothing to address the actual problem, except to let those actually responsible off of the hook. It is irresponsible and ignorant, and I’m fed up with the whinging screams of both. Grow up, America.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.