Watch: Kyrsten Sinema's Senate speech on guns criticized as 'meaningless both sides word salad'
United States Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) gave a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday in which she called upon Democrats and Republicans to set aside intraparty bickering and solve the uniquely American problem of unending gun violence.
The Senate on Tuesday advanced the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which lawmakers believe holds the potential to save lives. But members of the right-wing Republican caucus in the House of Representatives, led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), have expressed their opposition to the measure, claiming that it infringes upon the Second Amendment.
An aide to House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) – himself a survivor of a mass assassination attempt – told Politico that Scalise intends to rouse his GOP colleagues to vote against it.
Sinema, meanwhile, urged cooperation so that Congress can finally deliver something that protects the public.
"Common sense proposals have been tossed to the side by partisan lawmakers choosing politics instead of solutions. Elected officials have made a habit of insulting one another for offering thoughts and prayers, for blaming violence on strictly mental illness or video games or particular kinds of weapons, or any cause that didn't align with and confirm their own predetermined beliefs," Sinema said.
"Casting blame and trading political barbs and attacks became the path of least resistance, but the communities across our country who have experienced senseless violence deserve better than Washington politics as usual," the Senator continued. "Our communities deserve a commitment from their leaders to do the hard work of putting aside politics, identifying problems that need solving, and working together toward common ground and common goals."
Watch below via Vox's Aaron Rupar:
\u201cSimena: "Elected officials have made a habit of insulting one another for offering thoughts & prayers, for blaming violence on strictly mental illness, or video games, or particular kinds of weapons, or any cause that didn't align with & confirm their own predetermined beliefs"\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
While Sinema's words appeared to be well-intended, observers were less than thrilled with her address.
\u201c@atrupar on the one hand people are mad about inaction and on the other people are making up lame excuses for doing nothing \n\nwho is to say who is right?\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
Many saw it as a "both sides" argument that has little hope of yielding results.
\u201c@atrupar She was valedictorian at age 16, earned a JD, PhD, and MBA. Those degrees require intensive writing and rhetoric. This is intentional word salad, so that people can project whatever motivations onto her vote that align with their own political belief structure. She's a climber.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar Meaningless \u201cboth sides\u201d word salad.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar She just could have said very fine people of both sides and called it a day.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar The ONLY reason people insult \u201cthoughts and prayers\u201d is because that is ALL conservatives offer when it comes to gun violence. They also oppose ALL mental health funding, ALL social programs, pretty much ANYTHING that might help. THAT is why they get insulted, @SenatorSinema\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
Others remarked that she avoided mentioning the core issue – that there are too many guns and easy access to them.
\u201c@atrupar Oh for fuck\u2019s sake. She should just come out and say she\u2019s a Fucking Republican.\n\nThey. Still. Didn\u2019t. Do. Anything. About. The. Fucking. Guns.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar @YvonneGraceAnde I hope being insulted for doing nothing hurts less than having your children killed in school.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar Its all of those things, Kristen- those people with those games, with a mental illness dont need unfettered access to assault weapons- and thoughts and prayers dont mean jack \ud83d\udca9\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar My predetermined belief is that children shouldn't be slaughtered at school. Opinions on that vary, unfortunately.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar Lord woman... you listed everything but guns and bullets...\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar She literally just said "we don't know what causes mass shootings", didn't she?\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar Uh, take a look at the rest of the world where this doesn't happen. Why doesn't it? There is your answer. You don't need to make a big dumb grandstand over this. Just ban and melt all the guns down, and those that need have incredibly strict tests, evaluations, and yearly fees.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar Thoughts and prayers is a way of saying \u201cI\u2019m not a serious problem solver\u201d.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
\u201c@atrupar We have a lot of mentally ill people playing video games taking drugs and from fatherless families here in Australia and yet no gun problems, yeah the guns aren\u2019t the problem.\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1655928402
Outside of social media, renewed calls to repeal the Second Amendment have popped up.
Mercy College Professor of Philosophy and World Religions Sam Ben-Mier wrote in an editorial for Common Dreams on Wednesday that the Second Amendment is a "palladium of death," insisting that "if Americans are truly fed up, disgusted, and unwilling to let this terrible carnage continue then let them stand together and call for the Second Amendment to be repealed and replaced by a constitutional provision that is more relevant to the times in which we live."
Earlier this month, progressive radio host Bill Press said in a CNN op-ed that "the way many judges and conservatives interpret the Second Amendment is a total con job. And, as wildly misinterpreted today, it is, for all intents and purposes, a license to kill as many people as you want with as many guns as you want."
He added that "The only effective way to deal with the Second Amendment is to repeal it — and then replace it with something that makes sense in a civilized society."
Press also noted that he was "hardly the first person to say that the Second Amendment has been a disaster for this country. In fact, two Supreme Court justices — justices appointed by Republican presidents — have said as much."
Indeed, these positions are nothing new. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger famously opined in a 1991 interview with PBS News:
The Gun Lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American People by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime. The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies – the militia – would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.
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