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Lost in emotion

I had a comment on an earlier post that made mention of the emotional component of the debate over guns.

All debates on important issues are emotional. You can see that as a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on what the issue is, where you stand on the issue and how important the issue is to you.

Emotion is a basic fact of life. We are emotional creatures. The Founding Fathers took note of that fact as they laid the groundwork for our nation. They did not give us a democracy because they feared the blind emotions of mob rule. We have a representative democracy that puts a layer of (supposedly) sober, thoughtful, intelligent elected representatives between us, the mob and power.

So here we are today with the overwhelming majority of Americans in favor of stricter background checks for gun sales. If we had a direct democracy, that would have been a done deal the week after Newtown.

But that’s not how we do things and the process the Founding Fathers gave us is working as well as it can be expected to. Passionate people on both sides are petitioning their representatives using all the levers they can find, as petitioners always have and always will.

Some representatives will consider those petitions thoughtfully and soberly. Others will be more calculating and look toward the next election. Some will be guided by their emotions. Some will move to a decision based on a combination of considerations.

While I have my own thoughts and feelings about the issue, I believe two things: Decisions made in haste can be bad decisions and the will of the people is ultimately an irresistible force and will be done.