Angelia Wilson (@AngeliaWilson) a professor of politics at the University of Manchester was on BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) this morning to discuss the political implications of the “latest gun tragedy” in America and why President Obama, the “most powerful man in the world,” could not bring in gun control legislation.
Though common to refer to the President as the most powerful man in the world he’s not — more appropriately one could say he is the leader of the most powerful country in the world — well at least it was before he took office; our actions, or lack of them in Syria, overall lack of foreign affairs and National Security strategy and a desire to “lead from behind” seem to prove that.
The whole point of our tripartite Constitutional Republic is that there are checks and balances between three coequal branches of the government. The president is nether king or dictator. Furthermore the president does not legislate, he is the head of the executive branch; legislation comes from the Congress.
Though most of Angelia’s comments were hard to argue with, there were some areas that should be clarified. She mentions that members on the Republican side have become more “extreme” and do not work with the president (and to be fair, some Democrats as well), but these representatives were duly elected by the people to represent their views. Representatives (members of the House, the lower branch of Congress) are the closest to the people, elected every two years and representing local constituencies. Many were elected well after Pres. Obama had been in office some several years. You can’t blame the Congress for doing its job. It should also be noted that President Obama had a Democratic House and Senate for the first two years of his presidency. If he was that serious about gun control where was he then?
Finally, in relation to comments about the NRA it’s hard to believe that they are controlling the Congress. In the great scheme of things they are a small lobby group compared to pharmaceuticals oil etc. yes they are the main lobbying group to people who support the Second Amendment whether they shoot or not but their strength is in the fact that they are in simpatico with the Constitution and no one is forced to join them; and for every dollar the NRA spends there is just as much money on the other side including big donors such as Michael Bloomberg.
One reason why Mister Obama is having trouble with his gun control agenda is because many are doubtful it would have any effect other than to take firearms away from legitimate and responsible gun owners. For Americans rights are hard won and easily lost The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights – of which the “right to bear arms” is only second the free speech and the separation of church and state- is just as relevant today as when it was written. It is the solid bedrock on which our society was built upon. If the Second Amendment cannot be protected there’s little chance for the First.