Our nation is divided in two. Not red vs. blue, not North vs. South, not NASCAR vs. NFL. I mean swing state vs. non-swing state. Life in one of these Americas has almost nothing to do with life in the other. Having been pulled to Colorado—a swing state—to participate in a debate with Glenn Beck tonight, I am getting to experience what it feels like to have the presidential race overrun all media outlets. The campaign ads are predictable, vapid, and useless.
But in the midst of the clutter, one amazing ad cut through. It is called "Demand a Plan" and is a simple plea by Stephen Barton, who was shot in the face and neck during the Aurora attack, to confront the plague of gun violence. The presidential candidates will be here tomorrow, just miles away from the scene of that incident. Barton asks us to demand that they explain their views on gun violence. As he points out, he was one of the lucky ones who survived. There will be 48,000 deaths by gun violence over the next president's term if the current trend continues—enough victims to fill more than 200 movie theaters.
Two thoughts: Why hasn't the string of gun violence generated continuing pressure to push back against the NRA? And second, even though the topics of the debate have been carefully pre-screened by the candidates, why doesn't the moderator, Jim Lehrer, throw a curve ball at the candidates? He should ask them directly what they would say to the victims of the Aurora shooting. They owe an answer to the victims, especially here in Colorado.