This is a pep talk for gun rights advocates demoralized by the media onslaught of images from gun control rallies from around the nation. Please, take heart!! This is not the disaster it seems.
First of all, guns are like apple pie. Learning to shoot is a rite of passage for many, and the relationship of independent firepower to phrases like “consent of the governed” is part of any solid political awakening in the land of the free. Remember that the gun control faction of the Democratic Party is only a percentage of their base, and Democratic Party loyalists themselves are only a slice of the population. Though a recent poll reported by Politico described results breathlessly as “gun control support surges in polls“, amplifying the 2 out of 3 of Democratic voters who support “placing additional regulations on gun ownership” (a question that broadly umbrellas everything from background checks to a complete ban into its number), when you take that increase in support1 and distribute it into the number of people actually eligible to vote2 who actually DID vote3 in the most recent election, you learn that even after this so called “surge” only 24.7% (less than 1 out of 4) voting age people in America actually support more gun control – and I’m counting Republicans in that number.
I’m not saying that’s an insignificant number, I’m just saying it’s far from a majority. It’s not even a majority of a minority. It’s a fraction of the population and nothing more, being spun into something that it’s not.
Democratic politicians are exploiting this moment to pump midterm emotion for money and power but ultimately they will only ever make token reforms, if at all. Anything substantive would alienate segments of the very coalitions they depend on to make the gains they need. Hippie era progressives for instance are usually pro-gun; Independent voters are an unpredictable mix that can’t be taken for granted in anything close to a swing district, and to the degree that anybody on the libertarian left could be persuaded to vote at all, they’ve been trending Libertarian and/or anarchist thanks to efforts by the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party and organizations like Redneck Revolt promoting the radical egalitarian philosophy of a stateless, classless society. An armed body of the people is instrumental toward the end of an empowered working class that is no longer subject to rulers.
It’s true, the 2A community is fragmented by the mainstream right’s unholy alliance with religion and racism. We’re a lot bigger than the NRA, but many of us aren’t typically counted because we keep a distance from the conservatism of the political right. While gun rights have been of the GOP’s traditional single-issue hot buttons for decades, they’ve lost that unifying voice. Neither old school neocons, tea party conservatives nor Trumpian protofascists can reunite this splintering. But can we find a new center of balance to rally around? Brian Ellison’s campaign for Senate in Michigan, with its rallying cry of #ArmTheHomeless may point the way toward a new type of unity across the radical left and right.
So there is plenty of hope!! It’s easy to get spooked by these giant rallies and young people feeling a surge of triumph for the cameras. They truly believe they are “winning” and doing things their elders “couldn’t”. I remember thinking the Democrats were a true opposition party, too. They’ll figure it out like the rest of us when they get backstabbed (something the Democrats and Republicans have long had in common) and hopefully some of them will start exploring the alternatives. For truly exemplifying a true spirit of defiance, you really can’t beat the Libertarian Party.
Meanwhile, it’s up to use to find common ground. And if worse comes to worse, with fascism on the rise and gun control following right on cue, there’s strength in numbers if and when the time comes. #molonlabe
Also published on Medium.