“the key to the gun debate is to get rid of all liberals.” – Marion Hammer, first female president of the NRA
“The key to real evolution of freedom and liberty for all humankind is to get rid of the illusion of political parties and labels.”
When I read the first half of the quote above I thought for a moment that I might be about to read a helpful idea related to a solution to America’s ongoing battle over gun laws. For a split second hope welled up in me. “The key to the gun debate…” as if the next few words might contain an insight no one had ever thought of before. Perhaps I am to be forever guilty of being a wanton optimist, or blind idealist. I confess it. Perhaps it was too early in the morning and the quote caught be off guard. But instead of solution or even subtle insight what I read instead was just the same old divisive partisan rhetoric that seem inexorably attached to certain issues vital to the heart of America, and equally split; so much so that they remain forever stalled and unmoved. Arguments for the sake of argument.
Call it the chicken or the egg debate. No one can know for certain which came first in many of these arguments — the issue itself or the decision to wrap it up and place it in a box labeled either Left or Right. But one thing is certain: real progress is rarely achieved in areas where one is forced to feel as if they are aligning with a group that betrays their most heartfelt values. One can assert that many of the issues that plague the American populace are not strictly American issues, but rather are global evolutionary issues, important to a large majority of humanity and a wide variety of earth’s citizenry. America is only being used here as a symbol of a problem inherent in all societies where people co-habitate in large numbers. Innumerable so-called “issues” that humans have been struggling with for centuries fit into this category. Gun laws being just one. Abortion, contraception and women’s reproductive health is another. Capital punishment another. Immigration. Labor and unions. Big business versus small. Big Oil versus the Environment. The corporatocracy versus the everyday man. Even matters as seemingly small and benign as whether or not to fund education, the arts or humanities have been thrown into one of the boxes either Right or Left.
Thus placed in their “proper place” the issues, even simple ones, are deliberately made to look bigger than they are. No longer as simple as how one feels about the specifics of a particular issue, each takes on a much grander meaning due to this false sense of loyalty or allegiance to a larger cause that’s been indoctrinated into the people. If you believe that “if we outlaw guns then only outlaws will have guns” and therefore support pro-Second Amendment rights then you probably also want to do away with free education and food stamps and would be happy to see children starving in the streets. If you believe that all people have an unalienable right to marry who they choose and raise children of their own regardless of their sexual orientation then you probably want to eradicate big business and corporate profits to fill the pockets of the proletariat with free money instead.
Of course this isn’t usually the case. It is only what we would have each other believe. The issues are unique unto themselves and often don’t rub elbows with any others. It’s an illusion perpetrated on the masses by an intelligent few…