I watched with interest as U.S. President Barack Obama recently spoke about gun regulations in his country. As he reflected on the estimated 30,000 people a year being killed by gun violence in the U.S., he was particularly emotional talking about the young children, teachers and parents at Sandy Hook Elementary School who were killed by an armed maniac. It is clear he has had enough of the partisan battles around gun laws.
Obama finishes his term in early 2017, and in my view, his potential successors don’t bring much promise.
The leading Republican candidate – Donald Trump – is a billionaire. Sources say he inherited most of his money from his parents and took over the family business, which ultimately went into bankruptcy. When his father passed away he inherited millions and again began his business ventures.
I laughed when I read an article by an editor in a Brandon, Manitoba newspaper who said that “Trump was born on third base and he thinks that he hit a triple.”
It seems Trump is out of touch with reality. He has made inappropriate comments about women, Muslims and Mexicans. He has considered building a wall between Mexico and the United States and has even suggested Canadians coming into the U.S. may be more closely scrutinized (perhaps another wall). Some of his “ideas” have been compared to fascist regimes of the 1930s and 1940s. One of his biggest supporters is Vladimir Putin.
Obama comes from a poor family and lived with his grandmother for much of his life. His education was supported by various scholarships that he earned as a result of his academic achievements. He supported his family as a practising lawyer, without any inheritance or hand-outs.
While serving as president he has worked hard to bring about gun reform, implemented a standard health care system, advocated for greater inclusiveness for LGBTQ communities and implemented several other positive initiatives. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
I find it interesting that both Democratic and Republican candidates are proud of their leadership abilities and believe they are up for the challenge of becoming the next Commander in Chief. But most are tied up in partisan politics and are committed to serving a small group of powerful lobbyists, rather than doing what is best for the greater good.
As Canadians we have a difficult time imagining opposition to tougher gun legislation, which is the outgoing president’s current focus, and perhaps his legacy. Sadly, those lax gun laws in the U.S. spill over into Canada, when legally acquired American guns illegally end up in the hands of Canadian criminals.
The political environment in the U.S. can and does impact Canada. Our future is bright, but I’m not sure about our neighbours to the south. The next few months should be interesting.
Jim Cessford is the retired chief of the Delta Police Department.