In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, CT, I wrote two blog entries that posited that there was a unique opportunity for a true bipartisan effort on gun control. I implored liberals not to jump to their usual tropes about all gun control being good and reducing violence. Instead, I urged them to be analytic and data-driven and suggested we all take our time to really understand the underlying causes of violence in the United States.
After I posted the second gun control blog, an interesting thing happened. My cousin, Dan, and my buddy, Rob, got into a discussion in the comment section of my blog. Now, if you asked me to take out a blank sheet of paper right now and write down the names of the 3 most liberal people and the 3 most conservative people I know in the world, Dan and Rob would make the lists on the left and right, respectively. And, yet, Dan and Rob found common ground. They spoke (wrote) with great civility. They didn’t agree on all the causes nor all the solutions. But, there was a constructive dialogue that spanned the entire political spectrum. Again, these are not two guys sitting in the middle, each moving a tad to the center to find common ground. They are, in my view, both generally extreme in their positions. Dan is a hard core “guns are bad” guy and Rob has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. But, they were talking.
I take the constructive back and forth between Rob and Dan, and the fact that I personally agreed with key points of each of their comments, as evidence that the central tenet of my original post was correct. There is, indeed, a unique opportunity for liberals and conservatives to come together in a thoughtful and analytic way to solve the problem of gun violence in the United States. If a dope like me can see that and play it out in a tiny little microcosm like my blog, why can’t the most powerful politician in the world see it?
I can’t say I’m surprised, but I am deeply disappointed that President Partisan decided to follow the well trodden, but seldom successful, liberal path of calling for random and draconian gun control laws, including ones that have been tried in the past and shown to have no impact on gun violence. What possible value was there in calling a news conference and trotting out children who had written letters to him about the tragedy in Newtown? It is manipulative and disingenuous. The man with the biggest ego on planet earth gets another great photo op, reads from his teleprompter, and that’s the end of it. Nothing constructive will happen. 39 of the 50 states have already said they will not enact new gun laws. So, he gets his big ego stroked, but people keep on dying. And, it will stay that way until the next tragedy hits and then we’ll do it again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Politics is a partisan activity. I get that. The country is sick of it on both sides. Why is it so hard for this president to see that and make some attempt to work with people who don’t see the world through exactly the same lens he does? Why is it so important for him to stroke his ideologically-driven ego instead of making real progress on the issues that confront our country? His approach gives us the perfectly useless and likely economically destructive fiscal cliff deal. And, it gives us a big whiff on a huge opportunity for people who normally disagree strongly to come together and solve our problem with violence. I’m not sure if President Partisan reads my blog or not, but I reached out an open hand to him to work together. As usual, he spit on it. Sad. Very very sad.