POSTED BY MIKE HERSH JUNE 12, 2016
As a federal political action committee, mainly focused on electing progressive candidates to federal offices, Progressive Democrats of America has generally not weighed in on gun violence issues. That changes today. We have always held that an injury to one is an injury to all. Today, even as we grieve about the tragedy at the Pulse LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, we are expressing our deep commitment to doing all that we can to end the severe and nearly constant level of gun violence in our nation.
Fifty people are dead in Orlando.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, more than 60 people were shot in Chicago. Unless we stand together to break this cycle of gun violence, tomorrow we will await the next breaking news story about the latest gun tragedy. While we have not yet formulated our specific position on gun control, we will be engaging our leadership, our chapters, and our base in this process. We simply cannot and will not accept a society in which mass shootings have become so commonplace.
As the horrendous massacre in Florida demonstrates, intolerance and hate as well as too-easy access to weapons of mass murder make a deadly combination. No other major nation on earth suffers from the unrelenting onslaught of mass murder by gunfire. Nations most-similar to ours–such as England, Canada, and Australia–have taken necessary steps to prevent mass-shooting tragedies as well as rampant gun violence. Only the United States has refused to act.
Our elected officials have failed to act, largely because of powerful special interests including gun and ammunition manufacturers. PDA calls upon these industries and their political operatives to stand down. In the name of common sense and human decency, stand down and let rational, thoughtful people address the epidemic of gun violence.
While, fortunately, horrendous hate crimes of this magnitude are relatively rare, abuse and crimes of hate occur daily. PDA calls upon the President, the Congress, and all state and local officials to finally treat this national emergency with seriousness and effectiveness. We also call upon all civil society leaders to condemn hate crimes and bigotry of any kind.
Together, we must defend ourselves against all forms of hate. From the bullying a gay or non-gender conforming child suffers, to Swastikas painted on the doors of a synagogue. From anti-Muslim words and even physical attacks, to the centuries of racism against people of color. From the virulent sexism targeting women to the nativism and xenophobia oppressing immigrants. All these acts of hate strike at the very heart of the American Dream.
Today we stand with all who value peace. We stand with all who value justice. We stand with all who support equality. We grieve for Orlando today as we have grieved for so many communities in the past, and we commit ourselves to ending the stranglehold the gun lobby has on American society and our democracy.
Donna, Mike H, Judy, Mike F, Janis, Deb, Kim, and Conor
PDA’s National Team