delays meaningful action
With the seemingly endless onslaught of tragedies, the same accusation inevitably arises in the public discussion during the aftermath: Politicians on one side condemn the others for “overpoliticizing” the event. Virginia Republicans most recently have charged Virginia Democrats with this transgression after Gov. Ralph Northam’s call for a special session dedicated to gun control following the Virginia Beach shooting. Though most commonly characteristic of the gun debate, the same denouncement also has been slung around the political sphere after the hurricane in Puerto Rico and other natural disasters. However, no matter which party is in question, the fact remains that the accusation of “overpoliticizing” is a flimsy ploy to distract from the actual issues at play. Granted, the sensitivities of families in mourning should be respected. At the same time, that does not mean that the correct response from members of Congress or state legislators should be idleness. Politicians across the spectrum are elected to office to represent the desires of their constituents and to create legislation that pushes the government to respond to the changing needs of the country. If representatives cannot propose laws to modify current policies after a tragedy exposes a flaw in the system without being marked insensitive, how can they fulfill the basic requirements of their job description? At the end of the day, whether one supports gun control or not is beside the point — we need to stop asking our representatives to do nothing.