In a speech today about proposed gun safety laws, the president went off script long enough to answer Wayne LaPierre's cynical speculation that given some time, Americans would forget about Newtown and settle back in to a comfortable level of apathy about guns and gun control.
From the transcript:
I read an article in the news just the other day wondering is Washington -- has Washington missed its opportunity, because as time goes on after Newtown, somehow people start moving on and forgetting. Let me tell you, the people here, they don't forget. Grace's dad is not forgetting. Hadiya's mom hasn't forgotten. The notion that two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened in Newtown happens and we've moved on to other things, that's not who we are. That's not who we are.
And I want to make sure every American is listening today. Less than 100 days ago that happened, and the entire country was shocked. And the entire country pledged we would do something about it and that this time would be different. Shame on us if we've forgotten. I haven't forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we've forgotten.
If there's one thing I’ve said consistently since I first ran for this office: Nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. And that’s why it’s so important that all these moms and dads are here today. But that's also why it’s important that we've got grassroots groups out there that got started and are out there mobilizing and organizing and keeping up the fight. That's what it’s going to take to make this country safer. It’s going to take moms and dads, and hunters and sportsmen, and clergy and local officials like the mayors who are here today standing up and saying, this time really is different -- that we’re not just going to sit back and wait until the next Newtown or the next Blacksburg or the next innocent, beautiful child who is gunned down in a playground in Chicago or Philadelphia or Los Angeles before we summon the will to act.
Right now, members of Congress are back home in their districts, and many of them are holding events where they can hear from their constituents. So I want everybody who is listening to make yourself heard right now.
President Obama went on to call for everyone to reach out to their Representatives and Senators with a passion reminiscent of his campaign for re-election. If this is the bully pulpit people were hoping for, he is using it, as is Vice President Biden.
So do it. Call your representatives and your Senators, tell them that the NRA does not own them, that the NRA has no power over them, but we, the people will judge them on whether they stand up and do what's right or cower before the likes of a wingnut like Wayne LaPierre. As the president said in his remarks today, "We need everybody to remember how we felt 100 days ago and make sure that what we said at that time wasn't just a bunch of platitudes -- that we meant it. "
I'm glad he's not letting this die. It's been frustrating to watch the NRA pretend they have the upper hand on this. It's time for all of us to shove them back under the rock where they belong.