One of the most haunting sights you’re ever going to see is when a school shooting happens and the President of the United States looks completely helpless to do anything about it. Such was the case when a school shooting happened this month in my home state of Oregon at Reynolds High School in Troutdale. While there was one student gunman, the lack of intervention by police could have led to another slaughter as we’ve already seen with so many others. When President Obama was quoted about it the day the shooting happened, all he could do was lament how the most powerful nation on earth shouldn’t be allowing this to happen.
His statement was a stark reminder of how much the President’s power has seemingly diminished with each ensuing administration. The reason is because lobbyists have managed to become a major industry now in Washington where the process of convincing members of Congress to make a certain vote on a pending issue is top priority. And right now there probably aren’t any more powerful lobbying groups out there than the NRA, with the cable industry close behind.
President Obama obviously realizes this and knows there isn’t anything that can be done to stop lobbyists from literally controlling anything if they truly wanted to. What’s really going on in the lobbying industry that’s causing this to happen and with better skill than the commission-based salesman at your local retail store has?
The Problem of Former Congressmen Becoming Lobbyists
Far too many of the American population have no idea that former congressmen are making a bundle working as lobbyists at state and federal levels. The New York Daily News did a report on this recently and mentioned how former reps and senators are currently making up to six figures from organizations hiring them as lobbyists. This works in concert with their congressional pensions that have a lot of current congressmen steaming.
With some bills being proposed to prevent these former congressmen from making over $1 million in lobbying fees alongside their pensions, it’s not expected to pass for obvious reasons. It details a troubling trend where those who know the insidious skills of lobbying can makes the process even more effective than it ever has been. Because these former congressmen already know their colleagues well, the methods of influence are much easier and probably in high demand for groups such as the NRA, plus the cable industry.
Likely, the NRA has hired at least some former congressmen to represent their organization. It’s one reason why you’ll probably never see any turnaround in gun laws here in America as long as the practice is allowed to continue. With no illegality involved in this lobbying process, there isn’t any way for the law to stop it.
The only thing that could possibly shift the tide on changing gun laws or any law is if those lobbyists had their own personal epiphanies from an experience in their own families.
Will Lobbyists End up Facing Grim Realities?
It seems far too many out there don’t really learn the realities of a problem unless they experience it themselves or with someone close to them. You have to wonder what a former congressman lobbyist would do if they lost their children or grandchildren in a school shooting. It’s a good subject for a movie that creates a very heavy weight of being tied to big business interests while also being ethical. Would they ultimately let the money do the talking, or would they convince their colleagues to finally vote on reforming gun laws for better security checks?
With the NRA so powerful and having deep pockets, you can imagine the sacrifice when a former senator gets paid six figures to keep a status quo. Falling on a sword that hard would be near Shakespearean tragedy level while also possibly saving many future lives.
Unfortunately, we don’t really know if current lobbyists ever experience the pain the rest of the American public has to endure with certain laws that make no sense. Next is Comcast hiring the biggest lobbying team ever assembled to assure they merge with Time-Warner Cable. It’s already been reported that former reps and senators have been rounded up as lobbyists with the temptation of big checks to convince their former colleagues a near Comcast monopoly is good for everyone.
As for gun laws, all the President can do now is look for side-door ways to get something done. That perhaps means using intelligence to weed out guns being proliferated to kids on the black market. At least there he can show some authority behind the scenes when the more public side of the Presidency seems to look weaker each ensuing year.