I always enjoy the great irony in right-wing radicalism when they call for more government to protect them from more government. Not that many of the calls for gun control equate to more government, the calls equate more to the will of the people. But back to more government to respond to the call for more government.
Wayne LaPierre, the official mouth piece for the radical gun lobby known as the NRA (No Reason Allowed), has finally released a statement today in response to the call for some sort of common sense gun control in the United States. Now much of the reform being called for I consider to make sense; however the call to fully repeal the Second Amendment is something I disagree with. Not that any of that matters to the head-nodding NRA member but I wanted to make that statement for the reasonable folks reading this.
Mr. LaPierre's speech today
pretty much tried to create as many straw men as possible in order to combat reality. Wayne LaPierre blames violent movies, violent video games, gun-free school zones and a toxic society for the death of 20 kids and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It appears that the NRA will blame everyone an everything to avoid coming down from a libertine, purest view of the Second Amendment.
The Executive Vice President of the NRA even calls for an expansion of government in his speech to prevent a serious dialogue on guns. Calling for Congress to push legislation that would create an armed police state for our education system in this country. That's right folks a sort of TSA for the school system. Nothing like a so-called conservatives calling for more government bureaucracy and more spending to pass the buck. It's hard enough to get funding for important education reforms, but let's spend billions on creating a militia for schools.
So what should, or can we do? Well we could take the extremes and increase censorship, create a school police state, push aside some of the first amendment to protect a purist view of the second amendment as Mr. LaPierre calls for, or repeal the second amendment like others call for. However, I feel the answer, like always lies in the middle. And that middle ground is what our elected officials are being paid to found.
Now I know many of the right-wing gun activists and the repeal the second amendment crowd won't be happy without one of the two extremes. And both sides can keep attacking each other to their hearts' content. However, I believe that compromise is what makes our nation, or any republic, work. As the great American historian Shelby Foote once said:
"Americans like to think of themselves as uncompromising. Our true genius is for compromise. Our whole government's founded on it..."
And nothing could be closer to the truth of American character than that statement. On a side note, I do pray that the three words I omitted at the end of that quote don't prove true to this crisis. Mr. Foote was speaking of the failure to compromise as leading to the Civil War. He finished his statement with "and it failed".
I believe that the only way we can fail on the issue of gun control is if we do nothing, or if we go to either extreme. We are not a nation of unbending, uncompromising extremists bent on pushing our will on each other. We are a nation of the people, by the people, for the people and extremism will make that ideal perish from the Earth.
Rich Bergen is the managing editor and primary writer for ProgressMo Shuffle. Rich is a Center for Progressive Leadership 2012 Pennsylvania Political Leader Fellow, a Correction Officer, Union Steward, graduate from Concordia College-Bronxville with (more...