"Basically the company can say to workers as it says to its customers: take it or leave it.”
"The NRA is an organization that is adamant about no controls on weapons, in spite of the fact that we have federal laws that say you cannot sell guns to minors, to people with psychiatric problems or drug problems, or convicted felons. And yet they pressure Congress and the White House, and they've been doing it for decades, to not fund enforcement of those laws."
-- Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York. Quoted from The Hill, July 23, 2012.
First, I want to say a prayer for the victims and their families and loved ones in Connecticut.
After the gun horror in Aurora, Colorado, where a mass killer killed and hurt a large number of innocent people, President Obama said that the tragedy serves as a reminder that "life is very fragile." He said similar things in Connecticut today.
"Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it's not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it's how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another," he said.
I am very happy to know that President Obama still did not lose his poise and eloquence even after this gruesome mass killing that shook the entire world. Really, he should not because he is the president of USA; a president must keep his poise and emotional balance even under extreme circumstances.
I congratulate him for his calm.
I am a powerless man with no money, no media, no military and no mass support. I am a powerless man who can only imagine what went on with those fear-stricken children in that Connecticut elementary school today.
President Obama, contrary to some of his predecessors, always says something that somehow resonates and stays back with you. In fact, he said this (and so, yes, a very powerful man that he is, his thoughts were not much different from those of me, a very powerless man):
Upon learning the Colorado gun violence news, the president said he thought of his own two daughters.
"My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater, as so many of our kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I'm sure you will do the same with your children," he said. "But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation."
Congratulations again, President Obama. That's exactly the type of words that won the hearts of millions of poor and powerless people like me. And, if somebody asked me to vote for your calm, poise and eloquence today, you got my vote, Mr. President, one more time.
But I would positively vote for you if you thought about not just Sasha, Malia and Michelle and my children here in America, but the millions of children who're losing their parents and siblings and uncles and aunts and nephews and nieces every single day -- because of bullets shooting out of mighty guns and tanks and bombs dropping out of the wide-open holes of those drones.
I would definitely vote for you today if you stopped that violence once and for all. Those children are hurting too. They're hurting and bleeding and crying and writhing in pain. I can imagine that as well.
With your very sharp mind, critical thinking and eloquence -- totally unlike your predecessors -- couldn't you imagine that, Mr. President?
Don't get me wrong. I am not ever going to take away the grim, dark reality in Connecticut today. I am praying for the victims and their families and loved ones. I am shaking in fear. I am not being able to sleep tonight: just the same way I could not sleep when Colorado, Columbine, Northern Illinois, Virginia Tech happened. I could not sleep when Trayvon Martin was killed this February. I am bleeding deep inside. I am imagining over and over, again and again, myself and my family and children in the middle of that barrage of bullets in that Newtown elementary school today.
But President Obama, you have not done anything to stop this gun barbarism here in America, either! In fact, you refused to do anything about it.
With your indifference, gun lobbies and gun markets and NRA's have flourished even more in these four years. All of these powerful people and organizations are now likely working for your defeat this November. So, wake up!
With your indifference and support from your own administration and political allies for gun lobbies, gun violence has spiraled out of control. So, wake up, would you?
Gun violence has no place in a civilized society. In no other place in the world -- First World or Third World -- have widely available guns taken so many innocent lives.
Would you please wake up?
President Obama, think about your powerful children and family, and think about our powerless children and families. And think about those millions of hapless children and families all over the world.
Stop this violence now! Stop this barbarism!
That's all I wanted to pass on tonight. I hope you take it seriously.
Partha Banerjee is a labor educator and human rights activist. http://onefinalblog.wordpress.com
Now's a great time to subscribe to The Progressive magazine. You'll get a FREE copy of our 2013 "Hidden History of the United States" calendar when you subscribe for just $14.97 for the whole year. That's 75% off the newsstand price, and the calendar is yours for free. Just click here.