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Opinion: Has The Name NRA Ever Been On Your Ballot?


I don’t know about anyone else, but I have never seen the name of the NRA on any ballot. But, one would think that they had run for Congress, won, and continue to hold office.  One need only listen to what measure placed before either house is reported as having been “not approved by the NRA” for passage. (Huh?)  And therein lies the problem. It is well known that the NRA, donates huge sums of money to political campaigns of Republicans in both Houses of Congress. One only need visit   to review to which congressperson received those donations. And then take a look at how they have historically voted on gun related issues.  Notably, one of those who has received donations from the NRA is the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan as well as other congressperson along with members of the Senate.  And, apparently, in order to continue receiving those donations and thereby continue to remain in office, they seemingly seek approval of  the suggested legislation by the NRA  before voting.  When that approval is not given, the bill simply does not pass. But what is worse is that  in the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House can refuse to allow a vote on any legislation and it is completely discretionary. Hence the gridlock and why the frustration of the Democrats in the House boiled over to the point of their sit-in. They had no other mechanism via which they could be heard.

Then there is the issue of representation. If you are a Democrat, are your rights to equal representation being denied? Is the voice which you are guaranteed via the Constitution of the United States being stilled while  the NRA has a voice and quietly ‘votes’ in both houses of Congress?

It should not matter what the NRA approves under any circumstances. Yet it continues to the point that Republican presumptive nominee, Donald Trump even said publicly that he was going to “negotiate” with the NRA as to gun control laws . What?  I may have missed something, but since when does the NRA have the final say? Were they on a ballot and perhaps I just did not see it?  If no one can find their name on any ballot, then the American people, (no matter which side you are on), should express outrage as to the perpetual ‘kissing of the ring‘ of the NRA gun lobby.

Please do not fall for their supposed mantra of “standing up for gun owners“. Their main purpose is to support gun manufacturers, not gun owners. They are funded primarily by gun manufacturers, otherwise, they would listen to the majority of their members who support the #NoFlyNoBuy legislation. Yet the NRA pretends to be concerned about the due process rights of people who are not legitimately on the ‘No Fly’ list.

They assert to be in support of the Constitution of the United States of America. Specifically, the 2nd amendment. But what about that very important part of the Constitution which guarantees one very special right? The right to ‘life‘. A right which was so tragically denied to those children in Sandy Hook elementary school when they were so brutally slaughtered in Connecticut, who had only briefly enjoyed life ; those who were cut down in San Bernadino, California ; and, more recently, those who were at the nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The NRA was silent when a gunman who described himself as someone who was speaking out for the right to life of unborn babies. While shooting and killing innocent people and robbing them of their life?

In 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence declared that:     “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
 Allow your conscience to guide you, and if you feel that somehow the NRA has way too much power and influence over Congress, then let Speaker Paul Ryan know how you feel,  as well as your own legislator in both houses of Congress. (A link to contact him is listed below.) Because, no matter which side of the issue you are own, this is about the usurping of the people’s voice to be heard, and it really is all about ‘We The People‘.


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Good-night sweet Prince


price's piano after last show

Prince’s piano and mic after his last public show

              Prince’s last concert in Atlanta,Georgia, summed up his continuing evolution from the young man with his guitar who was everywhere on the stage – to the mature man on the stage with only his piano. He had nothing left to prove, yet this intimate setting did prove, among other things and that was the fact that all he needed was his beautiful music – his extraordinary musicianship,and his fans.  For those who attended – it was a wonderful experience, and as he gave to them, his audience gave back – singing back to him or with him – as they had always done, even when the stage was filled with a band, vocalists and such.  

             Now, since his passing – the refrain of Purple Rain has echoed all over the world inherent within the sadness which words cannot speak – so the world sings its sadness – as if singing to him, for him, about him and at the same time allowing the sadness and love to  escape into the universe itself.  One must know that, for a couple of nights – this big blue ball we call ‘earth’ – turned purple, witnessed by the international outpouring of grief, including the lighting of landmarks bathed in purple light. The musical tributes fill the air with even ‘The Boss’, (Bruce Springsteen),opening his show with a tribute performance of ‘Purple Rain’,Aretha Franklin singing Purple Rain at the White House;Minnesota Wild bathing the arena in purple light, and so much more.Prince-Purple-1984-BIllboard-650

The truth is that it appears as if each individual thought Prince belonged to them alone – for all those times when dancing to his music, or crying to it, when it was just them and Prince, an intimacy was formed between artist and fan that cannot be compared. Perhaps that personal feeling is what each fan carried within their hearts for his fans had nothing to prove either – Prince was theirs and that was just that.  Commencing with the early years, when it took courage to be a fan – when he was such a different and bad boy. But even then, fans refused to abandon him, while and giving a figurative finger to the ‘establishment’ which had initially tried to ostracize him, and remained fans until his dying day, .  Those fans responded to Prince with voices and record purchases which shouted: “Do you! ” And that is exactly what he did. Prince did Prince – and took us all along for the wonderful ride, and we loved it. And, amazingly, as time moved on, the children and grand children and even great-grandchildren of his first fans were added to his fan base – an artist whose reach actually did span generations.

Prince sitting on purple piano

Although we thought that we knew him – stories are now resurfacing about his beautiful and unselfish generosity. Prince in whiteClearly he did not do the things which he did for the approval of others: paying medical bills for those in need, providing financial support for the family of Lauryn Hill family when she went to jail; reaching out to Van Jones when no one would talk to him; financing Malcolm X  for Spike Lee – proving what his fans knew, intuitively, all along: that he had a good heart and that he was kind, caring and wonderful person.

His fans watched his life – and were happy when he was happy and sad when he was sad. The loss of his child was such a private thing – and it is something which no parent ever gets over. But he suffered in silence – not addressing it publicly. And more recently, the death of Vanity – also suffering in silence. And his silence as to his personal suffering said even more about him – no public pity party for Prince.

English: Prince playing at Coachella 2008.

English: Prince playing at Coachella 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prince playing guitar

Prince playing in rain 2007 NFL halftime performance

Although some were critical of his determination to keep his music off of youtube – only now are we learning that it was not about selfishness at all – but his perfectionism. He could not stand the thought of his music being played via inferior quality such as the grainy videos now surfacing online.  And he was very particular about his lyrics being written – but only because so often they were incorrect. During an interview with Tavis Smiley – he referenced a time when his lyrics to the famous opening line of When Doves Cry “Dig if you will, a picture, you and I engaged in a kiss” as having been written by someone as”Dig if you will a picture, me Marvin Gaye and the kids” or another person he knew who thought the words ‘little red corvette’ were: “pay the rent collect” and when he told these stories, even the crew on the Smiley set could be heard laughing in the background. So he was actually protecting his lyrics – not in a selfish way – but in an artistic way. No one would dare view a Micheal Angelo painting and have the audacity to take a brush with paint and add to it – well Prince felt the same about his music.

As this world moves forward without him in it, we are left not only with music, but happy and exciting memories. The shows and performances which could only be described as “lightning in a bottle”  with music flowing from his entire being. Prince did not just create music. Prince did not just perform music. Prince did not just ‘do’ music. Prince was music. And many will now spend their time in the “wreka stow” looking for that music. He will be so very,very much missed by family,friends and fans.

Rest in the peace within which you lived Prince.

We only wanted to see you laughing.

prince face in purple

           “I only wanted to see you laughing.”

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