Bush gets credit on AIDS; will do the right thing on assault guns
I do believe in giving credit where credit is due, and so kudos to our president for his endorsement of a $15 billion global AIDS initiative two weeks ago.
His encouragement to Congress to join in the fight against this mass killer is encouraging to me. Thirty million people in Africa are living with HIV/AIDS. One in five folks in Zambia are HIV positive. In Botswana 40 percent of the adult population has HIV. I can’t imagine anyone arguing against such humanitarian concern for such a monstrous problem.
I can, however, easily imagine the flak President George Bush will take for another courageous step. This came during Campaign 2000 when our now president promised to back an extension of the ban on assault weapons that was enacted in 1994 and comes up for renewal this next year.
Although some members of the House and Senate, including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, are confident the renewal will never make it to the president’s desk, I am just as confident Mr. Bush is a man of his word and will make good on his promise.
He will receive considerable criticism for his brave determination to honor his pledge. The NRA has already marshaled its troops for battle. But I am sure the president would never renege on such an obviously beneficial ban.
I am certain, as well, he remembers when his father was president and issued a ban on the importation of similar guns. The next year (1989) crimes associated with assault weapons in America dropped 45 percent.
Other evidence as to the value of the ban’s continuance is probably in a file marked “Promises” from the last presidential campaign. One can readily imagine Mr. Bush returning to those statistics and, once again, committing himself and his administration to this worthy cause.
Yes, there will be men like Rep. DeLay and others who will urge the president to go back on his word and act like most other politicians who promise much and deliver much less, but I have confidence in the man.
No one who so supports the values and virtues of America could possibly consider breaking such a vow to the American people.
The Great Falls Tribune from Great Falls, Mont., – hardly a bastion of liberalism – published an editorial this past Thursday urging the president to keep the ban. “We applaud Bush’s support and urge Congress to get a suitable bill passed,” the paper opined. I applaud its applause and assure it not to worry. Our president will not give in.
There is no question that the NRA is a powerful lobby and represents a boatload of votes that will be important in the rapidly approaching presidential election. But surely our president won’t cower under such bullying. His honor is at stake, after all.
So thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for your willingness to do what you believe is right. Thank you for not letting bad politics stop brave actions. Thank you for keeping your word.
Rich Mayfield keeps his words in this space every Saturday in the Summit Daily News. Some consider his nouns and verbs assault weapons.
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