During my lifetime, I’ve witnessed America develop into a nation with a political and cultural fissure so large it seems nothing short of a revolution can correct it.
There are Coke people.
There are Pepsi people.
We have Yankee fans.
We have Red Sox fans.
Almond Joy has nuts.
We have Marriott people.
We have Hilton people.
There are Costco people.
There are BJ’s people.
We have Pro-Choice people.
We have Pro-Life people.
We have Republicans.
We have Democrats.
There are NRA Members.
There are Non-NRA Members.
We have The Have’s.
We have The Have Not’s.
There are Winners.
There are Losers.
…and on and on.
Of course there are outliers, like folks committed to RC Cola (I’ve yet to meet one, but I’ve no doubt they exist), Minnesota Twins fans, Motel 6 die hards, Sam’s Club members, the political independents and the middle class (trust me, we’re fast becoming an outlier.)
If we are to believe the media and its pundits, or a certain presidential candidate (hint: rhymes with “chump”), you either have or don’t have, you’re either right or you’re wrong, you’re either winning or losing.
As a country, we stand so firmly divided on…well, on just about everything.
The outliers when I was growing up were the idjits like Lyndon LaRouche and his ilk (no, really, that guy was a nut job.) There was the “lunatic fringe” and the “thinking set.” The latter had the intellect and emotional intelligence to understand that while the former indeed had a right to exist and to their beliefs, they knew the world functioned primarily through discourse and compromise.
So, who is to blame for this current torrent of polarization?
The mass media? Yep.
Corporate greed? Yep.
Lobbying interest on politics? Yep.
Wall Street idiocy? Yep.
I will use myself as an example of how compromise should really work (not that I am the pinnacle of perfection, I’m not…trust me.)
You see, I am a Coca-Cola person, through and through, but I’ll drink Pepsi…and I have no desire to annihilate Pepsi drinkers.
Don’t care about either the Yankees or Red Sox….although I wish the fans for both would shut the fuck up, it’s baseball ferchrissakes.
I’m a Hershey with almonds kinda guy, but milk chocolate lover to be sure.
I couldn’t care less about Marriott or Hilton, but when I travel I prefer to stay at Hilton properties. Is one better than the other? Not that I can tell.
I’m Pro-Choicie, but not because I am pro-abortion (I defy anyone to produce a pro-abortion person.) I just happen to recognize that my role in that particular discussion is to support, in any way I can, the woman who chooses to make that decision. Period. Moreover, I don’t feel white male septuagenarian’s in black robes or Brooks Brothers suits should be making that decision or framing its legal parameters.
I’m a registered Democrat who is so far left that I’d probably make Bernie Sanders look conservative….but I have no desire to annihilate Republicans.
I suppose I would fall into “the have’s” if only because I have some things in life that are rights more than they are privileges. An advanced degree (education is a right not a privilege and you should feel free to go as far as you want without going into crippling debt), I have a car (believe it or not, a car is a privilege, not a right), I have a roof over my head (yea, housing is a right), I am not starving (food, a right), a job (again, a right.) But make no mistake, I don’t feel part of the modern-day “have’s”.
I more often feel like a loser than a winner. Probably because I still consume too much media.
I’m not a gun owner. I’m not an NRA member. However, I have fired both hand guns and rifles (in controlled environments, with educated enthusiasts) and while I can’t say I have enjoyed shooting them, I was, and still am, in awe of their power.
Would I ever shoot a gun again? Yea, I suspect so (in a controlled environment.)
Do I like guns? Not particularly, they’re not my thing.
Do I think the second amendment should be abolished? Absolutely not.
Do I think that it is finally time to have a sensible political discourse about gun control? Fuck yes, I do.
You see, I can believe in gun rights and still believe that we need to open a dialog about gun control. Now listen, a dialog DOES NOT MEAN that I, or President Obama or anyone with an IQ over 70 and an opposing point of view, wants to take away your fucking guns. It simply means, let’s TALK ABOUT MAKING SOME CHANGES. That’s all.
“They want to take our guns away!” NO WE DON’T!
“They want to control our access to guns!” NO WE DON’T!
CALM THE FUCK DOWN!
Maybe we just don’t wanna make it so easy that a guy who is on the FBI terrorist watch list can walk into a gun store or gun show and purchase an arsenal. Maybe we want to educate people more so that if someone seems a little despondent in their home they have the wherewithal to remove the guns and prevent them from shooting up a bunch of six and seven-year olds. MAYBE we just want to talk about what some REASONABLE options MIGHT be.
Will this talk or even any potential change STOP mass murders? No. Sadly, they are now a part of our life. But perhaps, they shouldn’t be occurring with such God damn frequency.
Besides, since when, in our entire history, did a political discourse lead to an IMMEDIATE political mandate (9/11 notwithstanding)? Exactly, outside of that, it never has.
But everyone has done such a fantastic job in dividing us and making any discussion so polarizing that even the mere MENTION of a debate about gun control sends the NRA and its constituents into a temper tantrum on par with that of a hyperactive and petulant six-year-old.
Are Muslims the problem? Nope.
Are all extremists the problem? Nope.
Are bullets the problem? Nope.
Are gun owners the problem? Nope.
Are gun shops the problem? Nope.
Are guns the problem? Not in and of themselves.
Are politicians the problem? Yep.
Is the NRA lobby the problem (the lobbying group, not the members themselves)? Yep.
Are we, as Americans, the problem? Yep.
Do we really want a society where Kevlar is needed to go out dancing? To go to school? To go to the store? To go to the fucking mailbox? Do we really want a society where a suspected terrorist (regardless of nationality or religious beliefs) is LEGALLY allowed to purchase weaponry? Do we really want the lobbying groups polluting what we know, and feel, in our hearts is right?
Among all the late night hosts responses (because lets face it, they are really the only ones telling the truth), Samantha Bee said it best “Love does not win unless we start loving each other enough to fix our fucking problems.” (Watch it)
Until we, as human beings, as citizens and, yes, as Americans, decide to step the fuck up and address gun control what are we destined to become? Are we going to see the birth of the MMN (Mass Murder Network, that one’s on me Zucker) because that is kinda what “news” is turning into. Do we really want that?
This isn’t a Republican problem.
This isn’t a Democrat problem.
This isn’t a Presidential problem.
This is an American problem. And we should fix it.