Taking Aim at Stupidity in GOP La-La Land
Tell Me It's Not True
The following has been reedited and condensed from Vox.com and a very good article … it now fits the blog format with no loss of content or intent. Enjoy.
To hardcore Conservative Republicans, unlimited and untouchable guns and the more the merrier, have become their last-ditch effort to impose control on a world they believe is slipping away. Imagine this scenario of a typical GOP conservative gun owner.
He is an older white male, say, in his 50s, living in the Rust Belt or Deep South. He will tell you that when he was growing up, there was living memory of a familiar order: Men working hard in an honorable trade or manufacturing job, women tending home and children, Sundays were for church, hard work yielding a steady rise up the social ladder to a well-earned house, yard, and car were dreams to be had by everyone. That social order in his memory was crumbling just as our gun owner inherited it.
The honorable jobs are gone, or going (even though he refuses to believe it’s his political side that shipped jobs off-shore for huge profits and tax shelters).
It's pure hell to find good-paying work (even he refuses to support raising the minimum wage and having decent affordable healthcare). Jobs with any benefits are for shit. He can’t put much aside for retirement because he doesn’t make much to take home. His kids are struggling with debt and low-paying jobs and high college debt (even though he won’t push his members of Congress to take steps to lower student debt). They know, all the gun owners know, that their kids probably aren't going to have a better life than the did — that the very core of the American promise has proven false for them, for the first time in generations and they are fed up.
It's a bitter, helpless feeling for them. For someone naturally attuned to “order, structure, closure, certainty, consistency, simplicity, and familiarity,” well, it’s damn scary and they are quick to tell you that, too. The role he thought he was meant to play in the world, the privileges and respect that came along with that dream, have been thrown into doubt. Everything is shifting under his feet.
Over the last few years, our gun owner has found a whole network of TV channels, radio shows, books, blogs, and Facebook groups that speak directly to his unease. They understand the world he heard about from his father and grandfather, the world that's being lost; they understand the urgency of saving what's left of it.
Most of all, with his already heightened sensitivity to threat further aggravated by economic uncertainty, they finally help him see who's to blame. They show him the immigrants crowding in, using up jobs and benefits that were promised to American workers. They show him minorities demanding handouts that are paid for with his taxes, even as they riot, even as they kill each other and the police. The show him terrorists making a mockery of weak American leadership. They show him elitist liberals, professors and entertainers, disdaining his values and mocking his religion.
And it is such a relief, to finally put a face to all the ambient dread, to have some clarity again, to know who the good guys and bad guys are. Our gun owner is a good guy, thankfully, from the kind of self-reliant stock that settled this country. It seems like America's decline is a done deal, that the tide of liberal rot is unstoppable. But the one place he knows he can draw the line is at his door, on his private property, because he has a gun. He can defend his own.
If the minorities riot again, or immigrant criminals move in nearby, or terrorists attack, or some wackjob goes on a shooting spree, or Obama comes for his guns ... well, that's what the guns are for. He's given up a lot, but he won't give up his autonomy or the safety of his family. He'll defend that to the end.
To our gun owner, another mass shooting is not an argument for getting rid of guns. It's a confirmation of his every instinct, another sign of moral and societal decay, another reason to arm himself and defend what he's got left and in fact, increase his arsenal.
You can tell him about Canada and Australia until you're blue in the face — the lower rate of gun deaths, the hunting exemptions, the seemingly intact freedoms that they have. You can cite high popular support for restrictions on gun and ammunition sales. You can tell him that not every incremental tightening of standards is a slippery slope that no one wants to confiscate his guns. And, the vast majority of Americans support gun rights, they also want some more gun controls for our national sanity.
But you're just another self-righteous liberal on another self-righteous crusade, too blind or stupid to see how governments always use people like you to disarm their citizenry. You've taken enough: his taxes, his freedoms, and his culture. He won't give you anything else or any more.
A cherished myth of American politics (indeed, of democracy generally) is that it's fundamentally about persuasion, the contest of ideas. But in a political system already biased against action, in which members of both parties are becoming more ideologically and even psychologically distant, persuasion on issues that activate tribal identities is all but impossible.
Our gun owner is not going to change his mind: everything gun control proponents consider evidence for their side, he considers evidence for his. Those differences run deeper than evidence. Opinions trump facts: Truth gives way to rumor, and compromise is a dirty word.
Thanks for stopping .. now watch gun sales soar again ... the sky apparently is the limit.