Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Point Blank Stupidity

Today, President Obama is going to be giving a major speech on the economy, politics, and economic inequality at 1PM Eastern. While we'll be covering the speech - which is really a kickoff to some major actions the President is planning to take with or without Republicans in Congress - the one thing we're certain of is that the President isn't going to self-destruct politically at the podium.

That may seem an odd thing to say, if it weren't for all the other politicians recently who've effectively been blowing their own political heads clean off. The number of fools on both sides of the aisle committing this act of stupidity these days is stunning, even to our staff of experienced journalists and political scholars.

Just yesterday, the major politicians who blew themselves away include Virginia's Republican Governor Bob McDonald, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, former Congressman and current Democratic New York City Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, and current Democratic Mayor of San Diego Bob Filner. We're not even including the North Carolina state legislature, or the GOP in general, on issues like the debt ceiling and immigration.

With all these headless political hedonists running around, you'd think that when a controversy like the recent Zimmerman/Martin case centered around a singular state-level law, most states would want to look at their own laws, and see if they too were ripe for a similar explosive legal, political, and social disaster.

That doesn't appear to be the case in Florida, or any other number of so-called 'Stand Your Ground' states.

Even after countless studies - including a fairly definitive version from Texas A&M, quoted by everyone from NPR to right-wing nutjob Glenn Beck's website 'The Blaze' - some politicians keep refusing to believe the data. Instead, they believe the propaganda pushed by groups like the NRA or ALEC, both of whom receive substantial financial backing from gun manufacturers. Often, those same politicians also benefit from NRA-related campaign donations.

That's why a growing number of artists and entertainers have decided to hit states and cities in a way politicians and residents of 'Stand Your Ground' states will likely pay attention to, whether they're personally pro-gun or anti-gun. The approach for these entertainers? An unending boycott of those 'Stand Your Ground' states.

Stars from Stevie Wonder to Madonna, and from the Rolling Stones to Usher have already cancelled concerts and appearances, costing cities and states potentially millions of dollars in lost tax revenues that won't likely be quickly or easily replaced.

While some who support the boycott lean Democratic, there are also some Republicans who deserve credit for looking at the facts and deciding 'Stand Your Ground' laws at least need a second look. Those people include Senator John McCain, who has called for a review of 'Stand Your Ground' laws nationwide, as well as Georgia's Republican Governor Nathan Deal - definitely not a long-haired hippie anti-gun politician.

No matter what your position on gun rights, the facts are clear that 'Stand Your Ground' laws should be re-evaluated in all states. The remaining question, especially if you're a politician responsible at the state level, is crystal clear: Do you really want to play the political version of Russian Roulette?