Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SOTU: Guns vs Jobs

Some, including Mayor Bloomberg and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, were disappointed that there was no overt mention of gun control in the 2011 State of the Union.

They missed the point. Apply some perspective.

Yes, gun control is a big issue. Yes, it's ridiculous to fail to restore restriction on the size of gun ammo magazines back down to a sane level as per the collective failure that's been going on since the assault weapon ban expired.

But the President of the United States can't ignore the big picture. We're living in a time of high unemployment. Too many people call for massive cuts that would likely throw us into an avalanche of crushing unemployment. Too many people call for insane moves like blocking the debt ceiling that would likely jam the entire world economy into a tailspin. These economic issues have the potential to bring widespread violence through collapse if the President doesn't talk them down from that fiscal ledge. If we went there, it would not be the first time that unemployment heated anger to boil over. The first priority of the President of the United States must be to keep our economy from grinding to a halt. Everything else depends on this. All the refinements of civil society to protect this or restrict that depend on our economy running at least well enough to keep our civil institutions going.

Gun control -- even the most sane and obvious restrictions like a cap on magazine size -- can be a very contentious and partisan issue.  Maybe he could have pulled it off.  But were the President to go there in the State of the Union, it would risk focusing his entire message on that issue.  Yes, it's important.  But even bigger concerns loom over our Union.  We have 535 members of Congress who can worry about championing all of the secondary and tertiary issues.  When the basic stability of the nation is at stake, the President needs to be focused on the jobs that make it possible to keep our society together.

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