Senator Portman:

I am writing you, as I’m sure many Ohioans are, to tell you how disappointed I am in your decision to block the votes on all of the recently drafted gun safety bills — and I am calling you out on your cowardice and cold dispassion.

That may seem an extreme indictment, sir. But in comparison to the painful slap in the face you and your colleagues delivered to the families of gun violence victims yesterday — who were willing to share their profound and most intimate grief with you — and to an unprecedented majority of the American People, it pales. You were elected, Senator, to work in the best interest of the people you represent. Not the NRA. Not GOAL. Not Smith & Wesson. Not Glock. Not Remington. Not Berretta. Not Bushmaster…

Had their been a vote, and you landed in the “nay” column, distasteful as it may be, you would at least be due the respect for voting your heart or mind or even checkbook. But to deny the vote; to disrespect the memory of the victims; to disregard the painful pleas of their loved ones; and to ignore the Will of The People is repugnant, arrogant, and inexcusable.

I must also tell you that your misguided decision has revealed an even more disingenuous facet of your worldview: You recently stated your support for marriage equality. In the context of a spreadsheet, that’s a good thing and your support is welcomed. You did so because your son is gay, and because as a father, supporting him unconditionally is the right thing to do. I’m sure you’ve taken a measure of heat from your Conservative colleagues, but you put your family before politics. That, too, is a good thing.

But it begs the question, Mr. Portman, why you could not also put the grieving families of gun violence victims ahead of politics; why you could not put the wishes of an overwhelming majority of citizens ahead of politics. Or is it not so much the politics as it is the money?

When you combine your heartfelt willingness to do right by your own family, and your subjugated willingness to do right by the firearms industry for political gain, the sum equals an egocentric and self-serving position. It becomes clear that neither decision was really about the issues or policies in question. It was all really about Rob.

So you see, Senator, when you consider that cowards are cowards because their self-preservation is at the core of their very being, my indictment is both fair and accurate.

As the public backlash builds — and it will — and we approach the coming election cycles, it will be most interesting to see where you lean on gun policy. Unfortunately, however, you’ve put yourself between a rock and a hard place. Because no matter which you turn, it’ll be driven by what’s good for Rob.

But in fairness, I should say that we Liberals can be as opportunistic and mercenary as you and your like-minded cadre. Should you reverse your current position, we’ll take the vote. And if you remain true to the NRA and your own hides… Well, no one will be surprised.

In closing, let me acknowledge that my being ashamed of you is negligible. That roughly 90% of Americans are ashamed of you may get some of your attention. But only when you come to be ashamed of yourself will it matter.

Have a nice day.

Steve Greenblatt
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