You are sitting in your easy chair, watching CNN, Fox News, or whatever other news you watch. And there is a politician giving a harangue about guns. Either a Democrat quacking about the evils of guns, or a Republican howling about how we will be enslaved when the Democrats take away all of our guns. You just can’t help yourself. You lift your remote with dramatic flair….point it as if it were a Star Trek phaser or a magic wand (or a gun…..is that too “on the nose?”) and just before you change the channel to Youtube to start searching for the latest Branden Tenold video or Rifftrax, you shout and spit out “You’re despicable. Just despicable!”
More and more of us are seeing through this thin charade. The two parties have been in cahoots for quite some time, but they sure had most of us fooled for a long time.
In the last two posts the topic has (sort of) been gun violence and the debate between gun control and Major Tom….I mean the Second Amendment. I’ll leave links for those who either haven’t read them and want to, or for those who want a refresher:
In this final post on gun control, I’m going to tell you:
- 1. The modern history (meaning, what happened since the 1968 Democratic convention) of the polarization process
- 2. I’m going to give some thoughts on who benefits from the polarization process in the hopes of deducing who “they” are.
- 3. I’m going to give some thoughts on why I feel this is a red herring.
I’ve covered polarization of the parties up to the 1968 Democrat convention. And in case some of you wonder why people are Republicans…..that convention is pretty high on the list of why some of us put the check by the dangerous red “R.” So the Democrats handed Nixon a win, and didn’t get their acts together for several years.
In 1977, the NRA underwent an enormous change. Members were upset, believing that the laws passed in the sixties had gone too far. The NRA, which to that point had never complained about a law, had never written anything about the Second Amendment in any of its literature, underwent a “coup” when the discontented members voted out the old board that were mostly concerned with marksmanship and safety and voted in people who were were more concerned with politics. “The right to bear arms” became the mantra, and they started endorsing and grading politicians. The Republicans, who had started to whittle down the Democrat superiority in the sixties, had lost most of the ground they had won when the Watergate scandal erupted, were all too eager to jump on board. Finally there was a demographic group besides rich white males that they could sell their wares to. The NRA endorsed Reagan, who beat Carter in a landslide, and the two organizations have been happy bed mates ever since.
Somewhere along the way, we lost trust in our government. And I think that is what got both Carter, and ironically, Reagan, elected. Carter promised us he would never lie to us. And some might argue he didn’t, at least, not to the extent most Presidents (in my lifetime at any rate) have, but Americans felt bitterly let down by the horrible economy, a combination of recession and inflation that Classical Economic theory declared was impossible (and that never happened again to the same degree until…..). And we felt embarrassed and frankly afraid when the Iranian supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini took 52 hostages from our embassy in Tehran. In Carter’s defense he did order a rescue attempt, but it failed dramatically. The once great American military that had defeated Hitler’s War Machine could not even manage to rescue hostages from hungry, untrained collage students turned terrorists.
Reagan did a lot of wonderful things, but he also made enough profound mistakes that in some quarters the trust in the government never recovered. And what ground he did gain in other quarters has long since been lost.
And then along came Rush Limbaugh. I’ve already written a post that discusses his impact on my thinking, I’ll link to that post so you can read my thoughts about him (if you even wish to):
The three things he taught to those who would listen:
- 1) Taxes are not implemented to pay for government spending. We print money from the Fed for that. Taxes are mainly just social engineering. Punish the behavior we don’t like, then bribe voters with entitlements to ensure we stay in power.
- 2) We cannot trust the mainstream media. They have their own agenda, and it does not involve our well being.
- 3) The deck is indeed stacked. Big government, big media, sometimes (I wish he had talked more about this) big business colludes to make sure the lower classes stay in their place. We control the barriers of entry, not to ensure quality and promotion by merit, but to make sure the only people allowed into the club are “our kind of people.”
We learned from him that income taxes existed mainly for social engineering, not for the payment of government spending. We learned that the mainstream media was corrupt and had been lying to us for decades, and that it was becoming more and more corrupt and was full of more and more lies. Last of all, we learned the actual value of capitalism instead of Communism, but we also learned that the way capitalism currently functions is deeply flawed, because big government and big corporatism had bloated to the point where the Powers That Be believed it their divine right to decide who the winners and losers were.
“What about guns, tired blogger….wasn’t this post supposed to be about guns?
My life since beginning this post has been so hectic, it has been a week or so since I started writing. I had intended this to be my hundredth post, but I could make no headway, even as in my life, I have struggled so hard, yet made so little way down the road. I wonder if The Pilgrim’s Progress would have been as good a book if Christian had reached the Hill of deliverance, only to find on the other side, not angels who helped him off with his burden, but instead a deeper Slough of Despond.
I know I was shocked to hear that in Oklahoma there was no longer a waiting period to buy guns. Because I remember in the 90s there was a ginormous bruhaha over the Brady Bill (was there a Brady Bunch parody….? There should have been). The bill required a five day waiting period before you could buy a handgun. Since I haven’t been following the news very well in the last decade, I had no idea that the bill had basically expired (they put expirations on bills these days….how nice!) and it is basically a state by state issue.
The right wing had been largely expunged from most forms of big media, but had become powerful on the radio, perhaps in part because everyone assumed radio was on the way out, and the barriers of entry were not watched as closely. Even when the audience climbed to 20 million they were demonized as hate mongers. This was where the polarization started to really bear down.
And yes, I wrote about this issue as well: https://wordpress.com/post/tiredmidnightblogger.wordpress.com/1412
I remember those days. I was still sort of young, I was following politics and right wing radio as religiously as my life would allow. I sang along to “Algore Paradise,” and believed the rhetoric that liberalism was the epitome of evil. It was a head scratcher that “W” won without the popular vote, and having not yet read The Federalist Papers I also wondered about the election, and what it meant. Polarization was rampant, we thought, and we wondered where it would end.
Polarization continued, with both sides throwing hate and vitriol at the other, refusing to listen to the points the other side made, and in general just not being very nice people. We got more and more angry, more and more we showed each other disrespect, and stopped listening to the views of the opposition. We demonized, and closed our minds.
Well, it is not only well past Midnight, it is well past one. The Midnight Blogger is far past tired, and is struggling with depression. I’m going to bed, I will try to finish my point in one or two more posts, we will discuss who “they” are, and either in the next post, or then post thereafter, I will hopefully explain what I really mean about all this being a “red herring.
Ahhh, so glad you’re back! Although the YouTube videos are ok, I love to read your thoughts and hear the banter of your own brain as you work through a cultural scenario or situation.
“Well-regulated militia” to me means… regulations. As a gun owner myself, I know we need mandatory safety training, we need a waiting period, we need limits on high-capacity magazines. It’s just Common Sense.
“But the Government might come and take my guns away!”
If they want to do that, you know we will lose no matter what, right?
“Unt’-uhh, I gots me a—”
Even if we do have high-capacity mags, or illegal bump-stocks for automatic fire, or laser scopes with night-vision goggles, or….etc. it simply won’t matter. IF the military shows up, they will have SEVERAL more of these items than I do. Or they might have bazookas. Or Tanks. Armored Personnel Carriers for sure. The local PD has one of those; they probably have MORE than one of EACH of the above.
The point is gun owners would lose, no matter what our personal stockpile is. At some point I will have to reload and sleep. And if a person want to live out the “…pry it from my cold dead fingers” bumpersticker, be my guest. And guess what?
That guy will still lose — because they took your gun.
HOWEVER, if my fellow gun owners embrace some Common Sense gun regulations (well-regulated militia, remember) then the outcry will not overwhelm us. We can continue to be the “good guys with a gun” because the Regulations will keep them out of the hands of the idiots with the guns — and/or the criminals will be more easily identifiable.
The 2nd Amendment is NEVER going away, unless we make it so brittle and hard that it finally snaps under the pressure, instead of letting it have the tensile strength and flexibility of a legendary sword.
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