Where are the Everett Dirksens, Wendell Fords and Howard Bakers? Where are the wise men and women who nobly served in the United States Senate and put country ahead of political party? The circus we now see daily in Congress is an embarrassment.
They can’t pass a budget. They won’t fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. And recently they couldn’t even agree to stop the sale of weapons to suspected terrorists and other dangerous people, like convicted felons and violent criminals. In fact, it took a 15-hour filibuster just to get a vote that predictably failed.
Americans want to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists. We are divided on many issues but we overwhelmingly agree on this one. How many more Orlandos or San Bernardinos will happen before Congress acts? How many senseless deaths will it take? How much blood of innocent citizens will be spilled?
It is just common sense — if you are deemed by the government too dangerous to buy an airline ticket and fly, you are too dangerous to buy a gun.
Politicians like Sen. Rand Paul are more interested in partisan political games than in doing the work of the people. Paul is doing what all professional politicians do: change the question, do a little sleight of hand, and hope you don’t catch him.
In December, Paul voted to protect the rights of potential terrorists. Every day that goes by without this legislation is an opportunity for suspected terrorists to buy weapons that could kill Americans.
The question before Congress is not about the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. It is about terrorists. How do we make ourselves safer? I want to protect the rights of all Americans to live and work safely in their homes, their churches, their schools, their movie theaters, and their night clubs. Paul has voted to protect the rights of suspected terrorists. In this case it is a simple question: Whose side is he on?
It is a question I keep asking about Paul. His votes on national security are as baffling as they are dangerous. As our senator, Paul tried and failed to stop the gathering of information to find and stop terrorists.
He has proposed billions in cuts to the military. He has also voted against expanding veterans’ benefits for our brave men and women who keep us safe and protect our freedom. His views are so far from the mainstream he has been criticized repeatedly by Sen. Lindsey Graham, Donald Trump and other fellow Republicans.
We need leaders who listen to the people and are looking out for the best interests of the country and Kentucky — not leaders looking to make headlines for their next presidential campaign.
National security is one of the most important issues facing America today. It is also a major distinction between Paul and myself. I look forward to continuing this debate. It’s too important to let professional politicians get in the way.
Jim Gray is mayor of Lexington and a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.
At issue: June 24 commentary by Sen. Rand Paul, “Post-Orlando, focus on a stronger FBI rather than gun control”