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View Diary: Post-Sandy Hook polling shows strong support for new control measures (127 comments)

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  •  I'd like to think this may be a turning point ... (1+ / 0-)
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    . . . but my political sense tells me otherwise. Any spike in polling numbers will be fleeting. And those numbers don't even tell the whole story - many of the opponents of any gun control are effectively single-issue voters. Let's face facts: the NRA rules, & any politician who doesn't represent a safe liberal district & who dares to stand up to them will get squished like a bug. There will be no legislation coming out of Congress. Period.

    It isn't "spinelessness" on the part of Democrats; it's the record. The NRA may be a hard-right organization run by fanatics, but has the proven ability to take down politicians who don't toe their line. This organization was the single biggest factor in the electoral routs of 1994 & 2010. If the Democrats take the bait & push on this issue, the result will be another rout in 2014 that will result in reactionary conservatives holding all the levers of power.  

    For years we on the left have wondered why it is that the Republican Party has been able to win the votes of white working-class Americans while it has brought them only lower standards of living & less economic security. No, it isn't because these voters are ignorant or stupid. Part of the answer is that the Republicans have become highly adept at playing to white fears & resentment (affirmative action, welfare), but the deeper reason is that politics in these times is more about identity than about delivering the goods.

    This is why the NRA has become so powerful: it has succeeded in making gun rights into an identity issue - "You start talking about gun control & you're messing with who I am." Many Americans have come to view gun rights as more precious, as more essential to liberty, than even freedom of speech & assembly, privacy rights, or habeus corpus & due process. Millions of Americans get their information, & their political direction, directly from the NRA.

    I'm not saying that this issue isn't worth fighting. But it's important to understand just how huge a mountain this will be to climb. A good place to start would be to focus scrutiny on the NRA, to shine the light on just how fanatical this group has become, & to force them onto indefensible political terrain. We have to cut this organization down to size before we can accomplish anything legislatively or politically.

    •  Good points (0+ / 0-)

      The power the NRA has over the Republican party took a long time to garner.  The approach to stripping them of some of that power should be multifaceted.

      Personally, I feel that many progressives often empower the NRA, due to their unrelenting and uncompromising attacks on gun ownership.  'Banning guns' is exactly what the NRA tells lower income whites that liberals want to do, and that after assault rifles it will be their handguns, and after that it will be their high power rifles, etc, etc ...

      In point of fact, calling for weapon bans confirms to lower class whites everything the NRA has been telling them for years.  That is why I favor starting the conversation as many liberals have: assault weapons are a unique case, and no future bans on commercial fire arms will follow the assault weapons bans.

      Likewise, emphasis on expansion and enforcing of current gun laws is an attractive avenue.  Tell a gun owner that no one is coming for his fire arms, but that they MUST be secured and they MUST be registered.

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