NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION (NRA) WAS DEFEATED IN FLORIDA


Opinion
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Hilbert Morales
EL OBSERVADOR

American corporations have changed a lot since “1952 (when), Charles Wilson, then President, General Motors (Corporation), was nominated by (President) Dwight Eisenhower to become the Secretary of Defense. During his (congressional Senate) confirmation hearing, Wilson was asked whether, as Secretary (of Defense), he could make a decision adverse to GM’s interests.”

“Wilson assured the (Senate) chamber that he would always put the interests of citizens ahead of those of his company. He added that he could hardly imagine a situation in which the two would be in conflict: “I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.”

“To contemporary ears this may sound like standard C-suite spin. But this sunny view of Big Business was shared by the public. One 1950 poll found that 60% of Americans had a favorable opinion of large businesses; more than 70% had a favorable view of GM. ‘We believe today, both inside and outside the business world, that the business enterprise, exists for the sake of the contribution it makes to the welfare of society as a whole.’ The management scholar Peter Drucker wrote in 1952. “There is, in fact, no disagreement, except on the lunatic fringe on the Right and on the Left.”

Today, you need not travel to the lunatic fringe to find suspicion of Big Business. A majority of Americans now view large businesses as self-serving and self-dealing. Only 21% of respondents to a 2017 Gallup Poll said they have a “great deal” or even “quite a lot” of confidence in Big Business.” (Source: R. Atkins & Michael Lind, ‘Learning to Love Big Business’, The Atlantic, April, 2018, page 22).

Today, corporate businesses have overwhelmed the democratic governance ideals through their ability to employ lobbyists who end up ‘writing the legislation’ that the U.S. Congress considers and passes. Much of this began back in 1975 when the Koch Brothers assembled their first annual meeting of billionaires. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court attributed the “personhood right to speak with their money” to corporations in their 5-4 decision (January 21, 2012) ruling “Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission.”

You are encouraged to read “Citizens United and its Disastrous Consequences: The Decision” by Fred Wertheimer. (just google it). Since this Citizen’s United ruling was made, corporate DARK MONEY has grid-locked the democratic legislative process.

The NRA is used here as an example of corporate actions which are self-serving and self-dealing. A recent investigative Facebook report revealed that a large number of current members of the U.S. Congress had accepted NRA funds. This listing included Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

“THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION (NRA) since its (1871) inception, has been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But (its) successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service…nearly five million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs.

As former Clinton spokesman George Stephanopoulos said, “Let me make one small vote for the NRA. They’re good citizens. They call their congressmen. They write. They vote. They contribute. And they get what they want over time.”

What is not reported is the NRA’s influence in having the U.S. Congress pass legislation which prohibits research which would establish the impact of too many guns being easily available in a typical American community. Today, for every hundred residents, 89 guns exist in the community. Allegedly, what is also suppressed is the volume of weapons manufactured in America which end up being exported.

Four student leaders met, organized the ‘NEVER AGAIN MOVEMENT’, decided to accept every speaking engagement and media interview proposed. During the MSG High School shooting rampage, David Hogg, an aspiring journalism major had interviewed fellow students; took photos; and made videos which went viral on the internet. This teenage student group was very adept and familiar with the instant connections possible using their smart phones. They were used to getting answers NOW, NOT WEEKS OR MONTHS LATER!

Emma Gonzalez’s statements went viral. She pointed out that adequate educational funds were not budgeted annually, however, funds ($400 million) were immediately allocated to train teacher to use guns. “Adults need to decide if our lives are worth more than ‘gun profits’. Really?” (Source: Sixty Minutes, NBC TV5, 03.18.2018).

NRA spokespersons at first were silent, then continued to suggest that teachers be armed; and armed police be assigned to protect schools. Congress members made their statements without ever referring to ‘guns’; they will be asked to outlaw automatic military weapons and high capacity magazines.

These highly motivated student leaders created national partnerships, and ‘student walk-outs’ of 17-minute duration (one minute per victim) at schools nationwide which happened on 03.14.2018. During this effort, they motivated Florida’s legislature to enact legislation which required a gun purchaser to be 21 years old; required a 3-day waiting period; and funds for mental/behavioral health assessments. All these had been successfully stymied by the NRA for 20 years.

A very important strategic decision was to retain full control of the ‘NEVER AGAIN MOVEMENT’. All offers of ‘supportive funds’ were rejected because “once they get in, it’s over! NAM is ours!”

The NRA has done a lot of good in this nation by emphasizing gun safety programs. Their initial goals were good for both this nation and NRA. We cannot ignore the reality that personal side arms have Second Amendment protection and ‘military weaponry’ belongs in military and law enforcement organizations.

An important challenge facing all humanity is to reach new accords reducing the large allocation of resources to implements of war and national security. All this can be achieved by doing what these teenagers have done: They chose not to remain stoic and silent; they chose to speak up directly with integrity, facts, and resolve.

They are using their logical eloquence to motivate change and achieve by challenging establishment values. They are an inspiration which are hopeful and evolutionary. We need to be copy-cats. They took on the NRA and defeated it in Florida! They will now go on to the U.S. Congress.

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