David Usborne: Barack Obama might yet wring something big from Congress on gun control

 

Is it possible that Barack Obama might yet wring something big from Congress on gun control?  Anyone who has spent any time beyond the liberal bounds of the east and west coasts knows how madly most Americans cling to their Glocks and their Berettas.  But did you hear the president last night? Did you see that woman cry?

I can’t tell you who she was.  Maybe she was a congresswoman or perhaps one of a many guests invited to the annual State of the Union address because she herself lost a loved one to gun violence in the last several months.  I am guessing she was not alone wetting her cheeks, whether in the chamber itself or in the millions of American homes where normal programming was suspended for the one hour it took President Obama to say his piece.

It was 50 minutes before we got to Newtown and all those other atrocities of last year.  There was a lot else he had to get off his chest.  He didn’t preface it all by saying “I won last year”; he didn’t need to.  So, my Democrat and Republican friends, how about indulging me a little: let’s raise the minimum wage, take climate change seriously, tax the rich more and stop getting austerity crazy.  I need to defend the US against cyber-attacks too.

There was another woman who will have moved you.  Gabrielle Giffords, the former Congresswoman whose brains were partially blown out by a mad person with a gun, applauded with all her might when Mr Obama finally spoke of gun violence. She can’t clap yet, so she clasped her hands together and shook them.

And then, sitting in the gallery, were the parents of Hadiya Pendleton.  “She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette,” Mr Obama explained. “Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house.”

Mr Obama used the night shamelessly.  It was no contest, even if Ted Nugent, the rocker and board member of the National Rifle Association, had also come to listen and represent the opposing view.  Congress has his proposals to crack down and should vote on them now, the president said. But he didn’t just say it, he proclaimed it as poetry.

“They deserve a vote,” he said, departing on a rising arc of oratory. “Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence - they deserve a simple vote.”  He might just get it.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Recruitment Genius: Invoicing Clerk

£14500 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are contractors to...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Administrator / Marketing Assistant

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of packag...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales - OTE £30,000

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a rapidly expanding offi...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy