What’s clear is that gun control advocates need to learn from defeats like the ones they were handed in Colorado. They must seek to make better laws, which means consulting with the local officials who will have to enforce the laws (up to a point — a sheriff is a sheriff, not a constitutional scholar or Supreme Court justice). And they need to keep the public informed and alert about what’s at stake. In the Colorado counties where the recalls succeeded, opinion on key gun control issues was evenly divided; what wasn’t evenly distributed was a sense of urgency.
As for recalls and what they will do to our political culture, it’s anybody’s guess. It is already horrendously draining, financially and psychologically, to run for office. This is the era of “gotcha” YouTube traps, the gossip-spreading abilities of the Internet and high dollar fund-raising. Those factors alone dissuade many of the most ethical, moral and intellectually solid candidates of any political persuasion from running for office. Why would a sane, rationale person submit to such a life?
Mary Sanchez is an opinion-page columnist for The Kansas City Star. Readers may write to her at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.