In politics, we often argue that someone is displaying bravery if they make a stand for what they believe to be right even if it's not necessarily popular. We need to account for how their constituents feel, admittedly--it's not necessarily brave to stand up for what you constituents want, even if no one else does, after all--but if the forces are aligned against someone and the stand anyway, well...
But bending to popular opinion is anything but.
I bring this up because I came across this piece where a woman tries to claim that Kansas lawmakers are "cowering."
Mary Snipes is mad. She’s been mad since 2018, when her son was shot and killed in Junction City.
“I became the maddest person ever. I am still a mad mom,” Snipes said to the rows of her fellow red-shirted “Moms Demand Action” advocates gathered on the second floor of the Statehouse on Thursday. “I am not the same.”
Snipes recounted her journey of navigating grief to become a gun control advocate as one of several speakers at the annual gun safety event. Advocates chatted with each other before leaving to urge legislators to reject a proposed state constitutional amendment that would protect gun rights and instead implement a safe storage law.
“We need to continually look at how the decisions we make here in Topeka are impacting the safety in our communities,” Hoye said.
Featherston has introduced House Bill 2413, which would require gun owners to use safe storage for firearms.
“Legislators who cower to the gun lobby are the reason we cannot have nice things,” Featherston said. “It is time that they stand up, that they be as brave as every one of you, who go out in your moms shirt, which used to be a little scary to wear in public. For the children who are here, the students who are here today, if our legislators cannot be as brave as you, they need to find another job.”
I find this whole thing a little funny because, well, not that long ago, I came across a piece trying to convince Kansas lawmakers of the same thing, but by arguing there's massive popular support for gun control in the state.
Now, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. How are they cowering from the gun lobby--which they claim doesn't represent the majority of people in the state--when this is supposedly so unpopular?
See, the problem for people like Featherstone and other anti-gunners is that they can't comprehend the possibility that someone actually disagrees with them, who thinks the right to keep and bear arms matters and that gun control isn't a viable option.
Most anti-gunners seem to believe that we all actually agree with them secretly, particularly pro-gun politicians. They just figure they're all scared or bought or literally anything else, which is why they don't suddenly support gun control.
The thing is, anti-gunners have been spending as much, if not more, than pro-gun groups in recent election cycles. If a lawmaker really wanted gun control and the only thing stopping him or her was campaign contribution concerns, I'm sure Giffords or Everytown would be happy to make up the shortfall.
So why don't they?
Maybe because their opposition to gun control has nothing at all to do with fear and everything to do with the right to keep and bear arms. Maybe the entire thing is predicated on the idea that we have a right to defend ourselves and we don't need the state to sweep in and dictate what we should have to do with our guns.
You can't fly in the face of popular opinion and still be a coward. That's not how it works, not in politics and not in life in general. Trying to pretend otherwise is just stupidity.