“The Great Gun Control Fizzle” on Politico
Who: Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review
The Idea: Despite the president’s strong push for stringent gun control laws, public opinion is moving the opposite direction. Again, Lowry says, the president is “hopelessly detached as a legislative mechanic and ineffectual as a shaper of public opinion.” While the proposed legislation focuses on “trying to keep guns out of the hands of common criminals,” that isn’t going to prevent events like Newtown, Lowry says. All-in-all, the president’s push for gun control looks “like a complete fizzle.”
Sum-it-up Quote: “Gun control always founders on the fundamental paradox that it is possible to write new laws for the law-abiding but difficult or impossible to reach criminals who don’t care about the laws.”
“Margaret Thatcher and Misapplied Death Etiquette” in The Guardian
Who: Glenn Greenwald, columnist
The Idea: The death of Margaret Thatcher brought the Iron Lady’s advocates and critics out of the woodwork — and both sets of opinions, Greenwald says, are valid and appropriate, even in time of mourning. “Whatever else may be true of her, Thatcher engaged in incredibly consequential acts that affected millions of people around the world … To demand that all of that be ignored in the face of one-sided requiems to her nobility and greatness is a bit bullying and tyrannical, not to mention warped,” he says. In other words, in death, one’s bad acts should be commemorated along with the good.
Sum-it-up Quote: “That one should not speak ill of the dead is arguably appropriate when a private person dies, but it is wildly inappropriate for the death of a controversial public figure, particularly one who wielded significant influence and political power.”
Who: Kendra James, contributor
The Idea: Do minority students take away spots at Ivy League schools from white students just for diversity’s sake? Definitely not, says James, who berates a slew of young, white, female students who have recently gone public with their opinions that they were rejected from their first-choice schools in order to make room for minorities. James says that with her background (a black, boarding school, legacy student), she expected to get into her first-choice university, Brown, but didn’t even make the waitlist. “It’s easy to look for someone to blame, and it’s easier still to want to place that blame on groups of people who can so easily be scapegoats for your problems…and historically always have,” James says. But “A child of color often has to live under a completely different set of rules than their white counterparts.”
Sum-it-up Quote: “There’s an arrogance in high school students that manifests during the college-application process, but it’s an arrogance that correlates with already existing racial and class privilege.”
(MORE: The Thin-Envelope Crisis)
Who: Van Jones, CNN contributor and president and founder of Rebuild the Dream
The Idea: Even presidents make mistakes, and Obama’s new budget, which proposes a new method that would cut Social Security payments, “is a doozy,” says Jones. Many Democrats in Congress, as well as grass-roots organizations and citizens across the country, are organizing to stop the cuts Obama has proposed, which would hit the average retiree three times harder than the recent tax increases hit the top 1%. “It is time to start expecting more from the man elected twice to speak for the middle class,” Jones says.
Sum-it-up Quote: “Bad ideas from a great president are still bad ideas. Everyone who pulled the lever for Obama in November should call the White House today, and say simply: Mr. President, this is not change we can believe in.”
“The Arab Quarter Century” in The New York Times
Who: Thomas L. Friedman
The Idea: We can no longer compare the Arab Spring to the fall of the Berlin Wall. According to Friedman, a better analogy would be the Thirty Years’ War, which eventually produced a new state order. “The old sources of stability that held this region together are gone,” Friedman says. All America can do is “support anyone who wants to implement the Arab Human Development Report” and hope that the “’Arab Quarter Century’ ends better than it began.”
Sum-it-up Quote: It’s best we now speak of the “Arab Decade” or the “Arab Quarter Century” — a long period of intrastate and intraregional instability, in which a struggle for both the future of Islam and the future of the individual Arab nations blend together into a “clash within a civilization.”
Share the “ideas” that caught your attention this week in the comment section.