While the Supremes contemplate Prop 8 and DOMA and the nation begins the long wait to discover if equality will trump discrimination, two other important debates are waging in Washington DC: the fight over sensible gun regulation and the Keystone Pipeline.
The Obama administration is moving on both issues. On gun control, the President and his surrogates are clear-eyed and determined to follow through on their promise to enact meaningful legislation aimed at preventing further tragedies -- like Sandy hook -- from occurring.
In an emotional speech today, attended by many family members of the Newtown victims, the President promised that he would not let America forget that ultimate tragedy. As The Guardian UK reports:
"There have been complaints from gun reform activists that Obama has squandered an opportunity for action in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown shooting in December.
"But Obama disputed that the country had moved on from Newtown. 'Less than 100 days ago that happened. And the entire country was shocked, and the entire country pledged we would do something and this time would be different. Shame on us if we have forgotten. I have not forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we have forgotten,' he said.
"Obama said he expected votes in the Senate on gun reform measures soon after Congress returns from its Easter break on 8 April. The relatively modest package of measures he proposed in January has already been scaled back, with a ban on military-style automatic weapons effectively scuppered and even background checks to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental problems in the balance."
Good luck with that. As a friend of ours observed after the Sandy Hook tragedy -- this isn't the last one, just the next one. There seems to be no end at the amount of needless bloodshed Americans are willing to tolerate for the sake of the right to bear Uzis.
The President's attitude toward the Keystone Pipeline is more schizophrenic. After delaying a decision on its completion (some say for political posturing) prior to the 2012 election, he has kept relatively quiet about his position on the TransCanada project that could bring a catastrophic environmental disaster to the US.
On one hand, Obama has promised meaningful climate change and is accepting contributions from environmental groups who vehemently oppose the pipeline, but at the same time he has not made up his mind about a project that could wreck havoc on the environment. The Huffington Post has the story:
"President Obama may approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline later this year, but that hasn't stopped him from accepting money from activists looking to stop its construction. Next month he'll be hosting a fundraiser at the home of Tom Steyer, the hedge fund manager turned environmentalist who's been one of the pipeline's most outspoken opponents.
"To make matters even more uncomfortable, the progressive group CREDO Action has organized an anti-Keystone demonstration with environmental advocacy groups 350.org and the Sierra Club, with an estimated 1,000 protesters signed up to turn out in San Francisco at a separate Obama fundraiser that day for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
"'The president says he wants to take meaningful action on climate change and this is the first and biggest decision he's going to make,' Becky Bond, CREDO's political director, told HuffPost when the protest was first announced last week."
Ah, politicians. You can bring them to the (polluted) water but you can't make them think.