Prahlad Rao | January 6, 2016
It is rare for the politicians or public officials display emotions on television, and rarer for Indian politicians to even modulate their voices to reflect the issues they seek to articulate.
It is handed down the ages that a display of emotions is a sign of weakness. But it takes courage to show your feelings as US president Barack Obama did yesterday while speaking on the gun laws.
Tears streaming down his face, Obama condemned the gun violence that has reached across the United States as he vowed to take action to curb the bloodshed with or without Congress.
"Each time this comes up," Obama said in his speech, "we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying. I reject that thinking.
We know we can't stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence."
Obama's tears may have political strength, but his plan faces legal, political and logistical hurdles.
The US has suffered a series of mass shootings recently,including last month's attack in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 dead. Nearly 21 million gun sales were processed through the background check system in 2014, but some industry analysts say as many as 40 percent more firearms could have been sold through private transactions not subject to background checks.
"First-graders," the president said, fighting tears rolling down. He wiped his face and paused to regain his composure: "Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad."
The National Rifle Association, targeted by Obama in his speech, mocked his tears.
"The American people do not need more emotional, condescending lectures that are completely devoid of facts," said Chris Cox, the group's top lobbyist.
Republican presidential candidates also raced to condemn Obama, with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas putting up a Web page with a menacing, altered picture of the president in a commando outfit. A caption read "Obama Wants Your Guns" next to a fundraising appeal.
Obama's sentiments may be in right place because the US puts premium on the lives of its citizens. But our Indian politicians neither show emotions nor care for the lives of other Indians. The conduct of these politicians in the aftermath of terror attacks, like that at Pathankot, is far from satisfying or comforting. Their lack of display of emotions is a suspect. Do they care for us? The answer is no.
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