As Senate fails us on shootings, Dick’s, L.L. Bean step up
Since 2012, when 20 first- graders and six of their teachers were gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been 239 school shootings in the U.S., according to the New York Times.
Since Newtown, 438 people have been shot in schools and 138 people killed, and guess what the United States Senate has decided to do in response to the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that broke the nation’s heart and killed 17 more?
The plan is to deregulate banks.
Expect no votes on expanded background checks or raising the age to purchase assault rifles or limit the size of magazines or stop the sale of bump stocks next week, says Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader and guy in charge of the agenda. There will be no debate whether suspects on terror watch lists should be allowed to buy guns or how dumb it is that at gun shows, whack-jobs and criminals can stock up on military-style weapons and supplies created for the purpose of killing people.
Instead legislation that will tinker with Dodd-Frank is on the Senate docket so banks can make a little more money and bankers can loosen the red tie that’s been around their necks since the economy collapsed under the weight of reckless unregulated greed. If the Senate’s impotence wasn’t so painful and cruel to witness, it could be a skit on Saturday Night Live. But it’s not funny. It’s depressing.
Not as depressing is the faint sound of galloping horses on the horizon. Maybe the cavalry is coming. Maybe “corporate persons” are finally living up to their name and exercising their rights to speak on one of the most pressing issues of the day in America.
Since the “world’s greatest deliberative body” is failing completely to live up to its name and doing nothing to address the epidemic of school shootings that is deeply scarring a generation, maybe Corporate America is reason to hope for change. To witness the exercise of power refreshing.
Last week, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Delta Airlines, First National Bank of Omaha, the Blackstone Group and L.L. Bean, among numerous other large companies, picked up the rope and pulled a little bit on the side of sanity in the tug of war on guns. These small signs of movement seem huge and are a welcome sight, but these companies are hardly going out on a limb. Through data mining and social media, they know what customers want and are driven by competition to deliver products and a work environments that reflect certain values.
Corporate America’s capacity to act might be our only chance of reducing unnecessary, horrific school shootings in the short term since our pathetic and weak government cannot. We the consumers of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, should ordain with our wallets that blood money stop flowing to companies that enable gun violence by their complicity with the National Rifle Association, gun manufacturers and investers in weapons of mass destruction. If as citizens of the richest country on Earth we have to curb the carnage with cash, so be it. Sign me up. I will shop where my dollars go to more than just the bottom line.
Online there is a battle between consumer activists that push companies through legitimate boycotts and buycotts to take a stand on social issues, and trolls who leverage partisanship and flood the social media galaxy with false and misleading information to gain political clout. Companies owe it to their customers to cut through the clutter and deliver a clear messages about what drives their bottom lines. It’s no longer enough to show profit. American consumers and employees wants companies to also do good.
Millennials in particular care about the issue of gun violence and companies know that by 2020, millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce. It’s no longer just a question of whether you will buy a cup of coffee from a company that takes a stand on gun violence, it’s a question of whether you will work for a company that takes a stand, or buy its stock.
If millennials can get themselves to the polls and translate their passion and preferences into political clout, they will move the needle in Washington, too. On the horizon with the corporate cavalry is an election, and by more than a two-to-one ratio heading toward November’s midterms, millennial voters are backing Democrats over Republicans, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Thursday.
Sixty-two percent of millennial voters said if the 2018 elections were held today, they would vote for the Democratic candidate, while only 29 percent said they would support the Republican, according to the Pew poll.
Congress is useless. If it can’t do anything to reduce school shootings, throw the bums out.
As published in the Portland Press Herald