[updated 11:25 p.m. Tuesday. Votes are scheduled for Thursday; Filibuster may fail,]
There is a growing group of influential and one-dimensional elected officials on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC who apply their oath of office only to the most extreme Tea Party fringe of the formerly Grand Old Party party.
These Senators - - and one very recent conservative accounting places Wisconsin's Ron Johnson on the list while another story has primary-frightened Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on board - - say they will block even debating consensus gun control measures, let alone standing and voting for all the world to see.
Tuesday afternoon update: Johnson tells the Journal Sentinel he will filibuster any bill that he says infringes on gun rights.
Though it is only a few months after an unimaginable massacre of 20 children and seven adults in Newtown, CN exposed how easily obtained rapid-fire military-style weapons, large-scale, casualty-multiplying magazines and spare ammunition by the shopping cart-full - - check out this graphic representation of shooter Adam Lanza's arsenal - - could leave even first-graders and their teachers vulnerable to slaughter-by-stranger in peaceful classrooms.
Newtown wasn't the first of these mass-casualty events and won't be the last.
Yet these filibuster-ready, debate-hostile and thoroughly cowardly US Senators - - masters of wordy procedure and obedient servants to gun-interest pressures (and contributions) - - do not care enough - - or at all - - for the suffering that gun violence enabled by loopholes and lobbying wreaks every day on American children, parents, spouses workers, teachers, police officers - - and grieving friends, families and survivors.
These flawed, obstructionist public servants [Sic] have a deficit of what historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said in Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln was that most historic of Republican Party figures' most important trait - - empathy:
"He possessed extraordinary empathy - - " Goodwin wrote on p. 103 of her seminal Lincoln biographer - - "the gift or curse of putting himself in the place of another, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives or desires....Such capacity to intuit the inward feelings and intentions of others would be manifest throughout his career."None of these slavishly pro-gun Senators are fit to be mentioned in the same breath as Lincoln, and none will ever be President.
But wouldn't it be refreshing, with more innocent lives in the balance and the memory of 20 dead children still fresh in the country's common consciousness that these cold-hearted NRA captives could act on the Senate floor as if they had a smidgen of Lincoln's humane depth?