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Saturday, January 12, 2013

They hate us, and we listen anyway

You can't have America without freedom, although the last president and the current one have certainly tried to remove as many freedoms as possible. Even though, to me, the Second Amendment means the National Guard, (and it's painfully obvious to me that it doesn't mean you can own a howitzer or a bazooka just because you want one), I have to wonder... why not? Why can't I own a bazooka? What if I want to not just kill a deer, but completely obliviate it, just for kicks? I'm an American. I can do whatever I want, as long as I don't run afoul of any laws or hurt anyone, (whichever is easier to explain away in court).

The answer finds me pretty easily. If I wanted to completely obliviate a deer with a bazooka, that would be CRAZY. Hence, I shouldn't own a firearm of any kind, (because I'm fucking insane... just to be clear). There's no reason for me to own an assault rifle, so wanting one brings my sanity into question. Hence, I shouldn't have one. It seems fairly self-evident to me that wanting to have a weapon that serves no purpose other than killing other humans is paranoid at best, sheer lunacy at worst, and so, if you want one, you shouldn't have one by virtue of your crazy-headedness.
I have fired handguns. I once even dated a girl who had a concealed carry permit. And carry, she did. It's all good. I don't get the allure. But I know some people do.

Some people just dig it. They love the power, the sheer awesomeness of being able to impose their will. They like to hone their skills, hit that bulls-eye and feel comfortable in the knowledge that if they ever need that ability, they have it.
Some people feel that having a black president, (come on, let's be honest here... it's just us), or a democratic president, (as if there's any real difference between parties anymore), means that there will eventually be a civil war of some sort. They need to feel like they will be able to defend their homes, David Koresh-style, when the ATF come to take their guns and religion away. Others feel that when the One World Government finally raises it's Illuminatti-controlled head, they will be the last defense against those who would take away the soverignty of the United States.

Apparently, they haven't thought that all the way through. If the U.S. government is complicit in this take-over, I'm not sure who these freedom fighters are fighting for... but that's another story.

This isn't an SNL sketch. There are folks, our fellow Americans, who feel this way. Some are batshit crazy, but most are not. Most are simply tired of watching our America-ness be taken from us bit by bit, like an army of ducks constantly snipping at our freedoms. They're pissed and they have stopped listening on this question, (or any question), because all they hear are the crazies from the other side. The uber-liberals who want to do away with all firearms.

And herein lies the problem.

Liberals are supposed to be just that... liberal. Liberal in their thoughts. Accomodating in their approach. Listen, consider, suggest goodness for everyone involved. Not simply shout from the rafters that those who disagree are ALL lunatics who must be stopped.

This is how things are supposed to work: Crazy people like the leadership of gun rights groups say something that would be laughable if it wasn't so unbelievably tragic. They say something like the solution to gun violence is more guns. Everyone should have a gun. Then, a calm and concerned, (but no less crazy) liberal puts forth an opposing view, like all guns should be banned and we should have a national campaign of doing away with these nasty things. Then, everyone takes a deep breath, and the adults come out to find a reasonable solution.

But, that doesn't happen anymore. Fox News, MSNBC, et al hang their hats on the extreme view because it stokes your fear, and that's good for their ratings. They don't give a shit about your rights or how you feel. They want you to watch, and buy products from their advertisiers. That's it. If they can get you to do that by supporting your fear that a dangerous black man is a secret muslum and is going to take away your guns and make your religion illegal, so be it. If they can do that by making you feel that all conservatives are backwoods bumpkins who want to strip women and gay people of any rights at all and take all of your money to give to their corporate masters, great. That's what they'll do. And they'll keep doing it, keep feeding the beast. As long as the crazy people are yelling at each other, you will be watching the show that most closely alligns with your viewpoint, and it will become hardened.

The problem with a hardened viewpoint, a view of the world that won't, can't or simply refuses to change or even accept the possibility of change is this: It is the way of the crazy person.

When we become polarized, we refuse to act. We can't see the compromise that is necessary because we're too busy rooting for the demise of our opponents. Well, let me let you in on a little secret, there, Sparky. Your opponents are your neighbors, your fellow Americans, people you otherwise would just agree to disagree with over coffee.

The newsmongers of your choice have successfully wrangled your fear into making you distrust your neighbor. They have managed to get you to see them as the enemy, (if they disagree with you), or a kindred spirit, (if they watch the news you watch), without any regard for what you actually think about them.

The last freedom, the freedom to decide whether the guy next door is an asshole or not hangs in the balance here.

Meanwhile, the people who actually care the least about you are seen as the only heroes who can save you, and the crazy people on both sides are all we get to hear.
Sane people put forth proposals and are shouted down by lunatics. The lunatics are given equal airtime as if their position deserves equal airtime. IT DOESN'T. Just because someone wants a bazooka doesn't mean his, (or her, ferchristsakes!), viewpoint is just as valid as someone who wishes to explain why having bazookas in a residential neighborhood is a bad idea.

So, liberals. Suck it up. You can't listen to those who would lead you to Utopia. Utopia is a great idea until you put actual people in it, and then it gets all fucked up. A world without guns would be a great place, but people would still kill each other with hammers, or ice picks, or novels about sparkly vampires. You can't legislate stupid away. You need to compromise.

Conservatives. Shut the fuck up. You need to compromise. You can't just continue to call people who don't agree with you unAmerican. They are your neighbors and they care more about you than the right wing nut jobs who claim to speak for you.

Crazy people: if you think the solution to a tragedy like Sandy Hook is to put armed guards in elementary schools, I can't waste any more time on you. Armed guards would deter sane people from doing things they WOULDN'T DO ANYWAY. They are not going to stop someone on a mission from God, or someone with an axe to grind. Maybe they would cut down on the body count, and that would be good, but is that really the only solution we can come up with? Is making the resource officer the first priority target the best idea we have? Seriously?

We, as Americans, need to stop listening to these buttplugs pretending to speak for us. We need to stop buying into their arguments because they are the closest thing to our own that we can hear above the din. We need to start listening to the quiet voices, the sane voices, and let the shouters tear each other apart without us watching.

Because really... they hate us. They want us to fail. They want us to be scared, angry and fearful of leaving our homes. I can't think of anything less American than that.