Activism is often by its very definition extremism (and on occasion, flat-out lying). Sometimes this makes sense. You are in favor of A and B is seen as one step towards hurting A, so you throw your weight behind stopping B – even if B itself isn’t really what you’re against. But sometimes this strategy just blows right through the thin line between politics and lunacy. I know I should probably be celebrating the reauthorization of the Assault Weapons Ban that passed in the Senate today (which ultimately led to no gun legislation being passed this year). While I’m pleased with the overall result, the very nature of the debate, along with the way the votes went, was absurd (and that’s putting it kindly). (This of course quite complicated, made further so by a certain email from the NRA.) The vote was so close that the two Johns both had to return to Washington from the Super Tuesday campaign trail. Good people (especially from different regions) can differ on the issue of gun control. But do forty-seven U.S. Senators really believe that assault weapons belong in the hands of average citizens? Maybe they do. But that sounds a lot like an assault on common sense. As further evidence: House Republicans refused to even hold a vote on the assault weapons ban extension.
. . . Tuesday March 2, 2004