It took just two minutes to encapsulate America’s hopeless estrangement on guns.
Deep into a long, grueling hearing called by Republicans to target the Washington, DC, government, tensions provoked by the Nashville school shooting boiled over into an emotive exchange between Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and freshman Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz.
With most of the members’ seats emptied out, Moskowitz demanded to know why Republicans fixated on crime in the nation’s capital were not instead holding a hearing on “murder in schools” and asked why GOP lawmakers were so keen to ban books touching on gender issues when “dead kids can’t read.”
The Florida Democrat’s comments reflected the extreme frustration of those who believe the logical response to multiple shootings with assault-style weapons is to make such deadly arms less available. His remarks also underscored a sense among Democrats that the GOP is deeply hypocritical as it conjures visions of a nation awash in violent crime but refuses to lay any blame on the easy access to guns that have killed so many innocent victims.
Greene, a Republican from northwest Georgia, spelled out a common conservative position that the key to stopping school massacres is not banning assault rifles but actually having more guns. She called for Secret Service-style security for school kids while stirring cultural politics that excite the GOP base.
“If you want to have a good talk about schools and protecting children, we need to talk about protecting our children the same way we protect our president,” Greene said.
The arguments by Greene – who’s possibly the most visible symbol in the House of the GOP’s march to the extreme right and a loyalist to ex-President Donald Trump – showed how deeply gun access is a driving force in the party in a way that makes it impossible to envisage any future where fast-firing firearms are not easy to buy.
This short congressional back-and-forth captured the utter lack of a common frame of reference and political philosophy on guns – a divide that splits the nation, thwarts many efforts to tackle such tragedies and means that the next mass shooting is usuall