Serious efforts to curtail gun violence have been ongoing for many years, and recently the public has amplified the call for renewed enforcement of existing laws and additional effective legislation. The complex considerations include Constitutional rights, God-given rights, national security, physiology, public safety, mental health, economics, ideology, and more, so it shouldn’t be delved into recklessly or dictated by an exclusive ideological bias.
Under our system of government, it’s understood that sometimes laws will get proposed and passed that many people disagree with. We have institutions and procedures for dealing with burdensome or unpopular laws, even with the tyranny of the majority. We debate and sue and vote upon the laws that govern us.
The success of this system is dependent on open and honest communications. A tendency towards maximizing self- interest is expected, as is vociferous expression, and, too, human frailties such as lying. Laws limit communications that would incite violence, but are quite more liberal when it comes to communications that aren’t as truthful as they could be. Not every lapse in truthfulness is tolerated.
When citizens go to court they take an oath that they are telling the truth. Every new legislative session begins with an oath to honestly serve; every legislative office holder is required to take an oath declaring they will deal honestly with the people they represent. Our political representatives are responsible for dealing honestly with all citizens in our behalf; they may not lie to or deceive any of the represented for any reason.
When politicians violate our trust by lying or attempting to deceive, the problems we already had are compounded further. Citizens begin to lose respect for the laws and lawmakers. Lying becomes an accepted component of all discourse, making the truth difficult to ascertain and facts increasingly irrelevant. Lost confidence in government and the political process results in disaffection and detracts from moves towards unity and progress. At a time when Americans fear violent crime, economic malady, and terrorists in the cities, and distrust of government is the norm, the possibility is growing that social chaos will ensue.
Our institutions and procedures are vulnerable to corrupt practices that are now so commonplace that some would call them benign. Some folks don’t think it’s wrong to be lied to, especially if they've rationalized that the lie or liar is popular enough; acceptance of destructive influences portends the failure to progress, so it’s our civic duty to maintain high standards despite their unpopularity. Popularity is not an acceptable substitute for integrity.
Whether you agree with the goal of enacting laws similar to these proposals or not, the corruption of the legislative process should be cause enough to shelve this package of proposals. Instead of acquiescing to corrupt political maneuvering, urge this council to let all citizens exercise their right to participate in a thoughtful, clean, and honest process with the goal to curb gun violence.