United Hatzalah program honors our survivors, war veterans with specialized medical care
We certainly agree with Vice President Joe Biden that the massacre last month in Newtown, Connecticut, that took the lives of twenty elementary school children “touched the heart of the American people so profoundly” that it “requires immediate, urgent action.” And we would hope Congress and the president can avoid the partisan bickering that has caused so much gridlock in Washington and reach a solution to the problem of firearm violence in America.
Having said that, we are troubled by a growing sense that the president feels he should assume authority to act without Congress – despite Congress’s clear prerogatives in the matter and constitutional provisions generally granting the right of Americans to own weapons.
Mr. Biden was appointed by President Obama to head a task force charged with the job of coming up with proposals for dealing with gun violence. Here is some of what the vice president recently had to say:
The public wants us to act…. There is nothing that has pricked the consciousness of the American people, there is nothing that has gone to the heart of the matter more, than the visual image people have of little 6-year-old kids riddled – not shot with a stray bullet – riddled with bullet holes in their classroom. And the pubic demands we speak to it….
The president is going to act…. There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet, but we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the Cabinet members….
I’m convinced we can affect the well-being of millions of Americans, and take thousands of people out of harm’s way, if we act responsibly…. And as the president said, if our actions result in only saving one life, they are worth taking.
If this all seems reminiscent of the old utilitarian view about the ends justifying the means, it is. And we don’t think the president or his vice president are talking about emergency situations requiring a temporary waiving of the rules.
Consider the observations of Senator Dick Durbin, a leading Democrat and powerful member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Durbin said he would prefer that a solution to gun violence come through the normal congressional process rather than by dint of the president issuing an executive order. Significantly, however, he added that he was leery of the power to block legislation wielded by the National Rifle Association and the gun industry, against whom many congressmen would not stand up. So he said he would support Mr. Obama if the president does issues executive orders to stem gun violence: “Whatever it takes to keep our streets and schools safe, I’ll support.”
In other words, it matters little if it can’t be done in the prescribed way since almost anything goes if some of us think a particular action should be taken.
What heightens our concern is that this new development comes with a context. President Obama threatened to gut congressional procedures in order to enact Obamacare when it appeared he could not otherwise get it done. He acted directly in the face of congressional power when he summarily, by executive order, revised the enforcement of provisions of federal immigration law concerning the deportation of certain illegal aliens – even though Congress specifically declined to amend the law in that way. And after the Senate blocked action on his nomination of three federal officials, he appointed them anyway as “recess appointments” – after unilaterally redefining the meaning of the Senate being in recess.
We are as appalled by the spate of senseless violence as are President Obama and Vive President Biden. But if we are to deal with it in a way that is not corrosive of the system of government that has made our country the envy of the rest of the world, we need to be exceedingly careful when we throw longstanding rules and practices out the window.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
What was supposed to have been a 15 minute interview, turned into an intense learning session and intellectual battle, the likes of which I had never experienced in my entire life.
Rav Lichtenstein did not learn Tanaim, Amoraim, Rishonim and Achronim, rather he learned with them
How can NIF claim they don’t support BDS when they try to repeal laws forbidding boycotts of Israel?
As Holocaust survivors decline rapidly attacks on the veracity of the Holocaust rapidly escalates
The Constitution created history’s most powerful legislature & inherent foreign policy power battle
The S-300 poses a major problem; Israel will have to get creative as to if, when & where it strikes
“The resentment towards us (Jews/Israelis) was really intense. They clearly hate Zionism & Zionists”
Egypt has been more effective against Gazan smuggling tunnels than Israel’s military operations
She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.
Is ISIS in Gaza? “No, but there are ISIS loyalists here..we pray to God they unite under ISIS’ flag”
Rabbi Portal was that great “inspirer,” changing people for the better, enriching the lives of all
Iran knows Obama, Putin, and the Europeans don’t have a Red Line beyond which they will go to war
There is no way to explain the Holocaust. I know survivors who are not on speaking terms with G-d. I know many who are the opposite. I have no right to go there…
When a whole side of your family perishes, friends become the extended family you do not have.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.
If nothing really changes in the hearts and minds of the Palestinians, is Israel obligated to provide them and its other adversaries launching pads for attacks?
The United States placed enormous pressure on Israel to relinquish its gains, which Prime Minister Ben-Gurion did with great reluctance.
The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-president-and-gun-control/2013/01/16/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: