It’s the morning after the Super Bowl and as usual everyone’s talking about the half time show (faux outrage!) and the ads (Groundhog day was my favorite). But as usual, they’re not talking about the ad that I want to talk about.
I want to talk about Mike Bloomberg’s ad. Not about Mike Bloomberg specifically; I don’t have much to say about a Bloomberg candidacy. Except to say that I’m not sure that we need yet another old white man with so much money that he can simply write checks and bypass the entire nominating process. But that’s not why Mike’s ad is on my mind.
Maybe you saw it, maybe you didn’t. Doesn’t matter. It was a heartfelt message by the mother of a young man killed by gun violence. She tells her sad story and then goes on to say that Mike Bloomberg will make everything better; he’s not afraid of the gun lobby. At the end, Bloomberg’s slogan: Mike Will Get it Done.
You know what I said to Mike when the ad was over? I said, Mike, how are you going to get it done? I’m totally on board with your goals, Mike, but with a Republican majority in congress, how are you going to get new gun laws passed? Because you may have the best ideas in the world, but if you can’t get a single piece of legislation passed, how are your ideas going to fix anything?
One person alone — even if they are the president! — can not reduce gun violence in this country. Even the tiniest move in the right direction will require changes in our laws, and as we know, the president does not make the laws. Only the legislative branch can do that. All of the money and all of the slogans and speeches in the world cannot change our laws if we have a congress that will not support any limitations on the ownership of firearms. That’s just a fact.
And that’s the current state in our Senate. We’ve got a Republican majority that has vowed that it will never allow any restrictions on gun ownership. Ever.
The way we talk about issues in this country and the way candidates run their campaigns is just so insular and self defeating. Every candidate and every issue seems to exist in its own box.
Presidents aren’t omnipotent. They don’t run the country alone. They require like-minded people in the legislative branch who will enable them to turn their initiatives into laws that will actually begin to fix our problems.
These issues are vital to our national health and well-being. But they don’t exist in a vacuum. Instead of the empty rhetoric of “I can get it done” that presidential candidates feed us, it seems to me that candidates need to remind voters that if they really care about gun safety, or the climate crisis, or income inequality, or health care, or any other issue, that the presidential candidates alone cannot fix our problems.
In November, we don’t just vote for president. We will also vote for our representatives in the House and in the Senate.
If I were Queen of the World, every ad would end with “If you vote for me, then remember that you’ve got to back it up with your votes for representative and senator.”
And if they won’t remind you, I just did.