History shows us politicians can come together for good. They must do it now on gun safety.
Leaders need to break free from the allegiance to political party. Elected officials must remember they serve the people, and not a political party or a certain leader’s ambitions.
Actor Matthew McConaughey, in his appeal for gun control legislation, is right that more unites us as Americans than divides us. The true spirit of America is unity and bipartisanship, not the bitter rhetoric we see on television and social media.
The nation just marked the anniversary of the D-Day invasion to liberate Europe from Nazi Germany during World War II. The bravery and heroism of that mission came from Americans united in a common cause. No one was talking about Democrats or Republicans, or liberal or conservative. Nobody cared about labels — they cared about each other and their quest to preserve freedom and build peace.
After the war President Harry Truman teamed up with former President Herbert Hoover to save millions of lives from starvation worldwide. They were of different political parties, but that did not matter. They had a mission which was crucial to winning the peace after the war: defeating the enemy of global famine.
America also recently marked the 20th anniversary of the McGovern-Dole global school lunch program. This initiative, which feeds hungry children in impoverished countries, was started by Democrat George McGovern and Republican Bob Dole. These World War II veterans spent a career in the Senate working together.
McGovern and Dole rose above above political parties. The program named in their honor is feeding children in countries threatened with famine including Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. We need to expand school lunches worldwide with hunger escalating because of the war in Ukraine.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Dwight Eisenhower would talk to John F. Kennedy on the phone, offering advice and help. It made no difference that Eisenhower was a Republican and Kennedy a Democrat. They were Americans first.
A year after the crisis, when President Kennedy tried to achieve a Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union, Eisenhower wrote a letter to the Senate urging them to approve. Members of the Eisenhower administration even testified before Congress and advocated for the treaty’s passage.
Today we see parties go against an idea simply because the other side is in favor. Individual members don’t even vote with their mind; instead, they just follow orders from a party leader. Leaders need to break free from the allegiance to political party. Elected officials must remember they serve the people, and not a political party or a certain leader’s ambitions.
We need unity today for many life or death issues. Gun control legislation is on all our minds right now.
Everyone should be able to agree on safety for our schools and communities. So it’s time to come together and pass laws that provide us all with this protection, which is our right as Americans. Background checks on gun sales, banning assault weapons and limitations on ammunition are among the common sense ideas that need to get passed by both houses of Congress.
Bringing more guns into schools and on our streets is not going to solve the problem. Less is more. Fewer guns and tighter restrictions on obtaining them will mean more safety for our communities and schools. Advanced weaponry should only be for use by the military and police.
A reasonable compromise is needed in Congress. There must be no more victims of gun violence.
It was Helen Keller who said “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” We need Democrats and Republicans to work together to achieve gun control legislation and tackle the many issues we face as a nation.
William Lambers is an author who partnered with the United Nations World Food Program, on the book Ending World Hunger.