Discussion of Obama’s gun control policy and its merits could, and in all likelihood will, continue until the next gun-related tragedy occurs. Because resolving such an issue is unlikely, to say the least, time would be better spent considering whether or not an endorsement of such a political nature is appropriate. I would respectfully disagree with my fellow Chronicle writer and say that ASG’s endorsement was wholly appropriate.
Although gun control is a complicated and partisan issue, ASG should have endorsed Obama because we students all do, in fact, share some common ground on the issue. ASG’s legislation resolved that the entire “Northwestern student body supports the President’s issuance of executive orders regarding improved gun regulations.” The question to ask is whether or not the Associated Student Government can claim to speak for the entire student body.
Beyond the simple and evasive defense–that ASG represents the entire student body through elected representatives–I do not think that it would be much of a stretch at all to say that on some level all students at Northwestern would like less gun deaths rather than more. I believe this to be a fair assumption, but if there are those that disagree, I welcome their responses.
One should not think of ASG’s endorsement as support for a particular policy but as backing for any form of political action, any step forward, to curb gun violence. The mistake made after past tragedies–Columbine, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, etc.–was that lessons were not learned and legislation did not change. Commissions were created, promises were made and heated debates were held, but in the end only thumbs were twiddled and opportunities to save lives wasted.
In other words, ASG’s endorsement should not be interpreted a function of democratic, republican, anti- or pro- second amendment leanings, but rather a function of the use of the current political momentum and movement to get anything done to slow gun violence, rather than stalling and changing nothing. Realistically, I do not see ASG’s endorsement by itself making a large difference in the political arena. No legislation will pass or fail specifically because of ASG. That said, with such important matters, any move that adds momentum to enact any change for the better should be considered.
In the words of President Obama, “If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.”