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"News from the Can #6" video blog by R. Crosby Lyles. For April 28th, 2013.

My name is R. Crosby Lyles. It’s Friday April 26th 2013 and this is “News from the Can.”

Have you ever seen one of these? [Image of bat (stage directions in brackets)]
This instrument has often been referred to by it’s best known manufacturer.
in fact, the Louisville slugger has been been used as a weapon since the dawn of baseball, especially by those of small stature who need a combat equalizer.

The Louisville slugger is also a wonderful metaphor. “He really knocked that one out of the park” refers to the intellectual “Home run” scored in a debate. Which reminds me of my favorite TV news commentator. Rachel Maddow is a true thoroughbred. She is incredibly gifted with an uncanny ability to take disparate pieces of an arcane puzzle and put them together so that anyone can see the picture. She makes what she does look so easy that for a moment you might think, aw heck, anybody can do that. If you think it’s easy, try it sometime. All of which is to say that when it comes to debate, Rachel Maddow, a Rhodes Scholar with a PhD from Oxford, is a heavy hitter. [flash the Louisville slugger.] When she is swinging that intellectual Louisville slugger, she is not the timid Mrs. Torrance, keeping someone at bay. [Image of Shelley Duvall swinging bat at Jack Nicholoson in "The Shining"]

Here recently, Mz Maddow has turned her attention to gun reform. Gun reform has fairly played like a broken record on her show since well before the day of the Sandy Hook massacre. Here’s a question. Who in the world really . . . really . . . cares about guns? What demographic comes to mind when you picture someone with a gun besides the military? I don’t know about you, but I picture a redneck. I mean who could possibly care more about guns than a redneck? Right? Bare in mind that I am a social liberal while I remind you now that Dr. Maddow is a self-proclaimed lesbian. As a matter of fact, my own association with lgbt people has put me in touch with the experience of some being persecuted, bullied, or otherwise proselytize . . . by rednecks. These experiences have left deep mental and sometimes physical scars on friends of mine, So I don’t really blame them for being resentful . . . anymore than I blame black people for resenting institutional racism.

Now, technically, I probably qualify as a redneck. My father was the son of a fruit picker from Frostproof Fla. and my mother picked cotton in Alabama growing up. So let me emphasize that some, not all, rednecks have historically been really ugly in their
dealings with alternative lifestyle people. It’s a mistake to try to use the term “redneck” as an ad hominem attack because it is obviously used as a term of endearment in many parts of the country. The word Redneck to some people is synonymous with hard worker, or salt of the earth. When I talk about rednecks I am talking about a demographic that reaches beyond a particular region and speaks to an ideology of intolerance for which I unfortunately don’t have a more convenient term that is as widely understood.

So let me ask you. How do you suppose, generally speaking, that hyper religions, gun loving rednecks and lesbians get along? Is it possible that Rachel Maddow might have a resentment against rednecks? If so, do you suppose that she might pass up an opportunity to beat up some rednecks with an issue that strikes deep into the fabric of their very soul. An issue like say, gun control?

Up to now, gun control has been a wedge issue. Wedge issues were originally designed to divide and conquer people in this country who have similar economic interests. That would be the Democrats. In order to destroy such a proven, successful, and stable system such as New Deal liberalism with its social safety net and its bank regulations the Republicans had to find a way to avoid the empirically verifiable fact that New Deal tax and spend liberalism works. Enter the crazy conspiracy theories.

Gun control has turned out to be a fantastic wedge issue. Why? Because gun enthusiasts are really, really, really crazy about their guns. This is something that I realized recently on Facebook. One of my southern white boy friends, who also happens to be a soldier in the Army, really loves his guns and the things he posts on Facebook are either conspiracy theories about how the terrorist attacks are really designed to take your guns, or outrage against police brutality(which has bearing on feelings of empowerment against the state-guns again-), or snippets from our founding fathers about the 2nd Amendment,… Or strangely about how the oligarchs are enslaving us. You see he, like most Americans, when you peal the onion down to the core, whether they are republican or libertarian or whatever, they are all really New Deal/Great Society liberals. To prove this, ask anyone you know which program they would like to cut: Social Security? Unemployment compensation? Medicare? The minimum wage? Overtime pay?

Meanwhile, I realized from my interactions with my friend, that gun lovers ultimately don’t care about anything but their guns. Ideally, they would like to see things like less income disparity, better health care, better education, debt reduction, even keeping crazies from getting guns. But if you say anything that can even be remotely construed as a threat to their guns, they become completely intransigent almost resembling hardcore right wingers. In other words, they are Democrats until you say the word “gun” and then they turn into Republicans.

Murder is tragic in the most profound sense of the word. Without question some common sense gun control measures should be passed. But also know that the murder rate in general is at an historic low in this country. The reason that we spend more money on anti-terror than on controlling guns is because of the enormous potential loss of life from a terrorist attack. But, how much more devastating would the effects be of not being able to enact a sensible tax structure and balance our budget because we can’t all get together on it? So, I ask with all do respect to Rachael Maddow, how can we advance the desperate cause of saving this great nation of ours from economic and physical destruction at the hands of right wing ideologues if we waste our energy on person grievance?

One day the long awaited tipping point will come for gun control to happen. But until then, we must unite all who agree on the basic principals that are the foundation of freedom. That foundation is made first and foremost of economic liberty which is made possible by New Deal liberalism.

Well that’s about it for today, Friday April 26th, 2013. My name is R. Crosby Lyles and has been “News from the can” See Ya.

Note: Somewhere there is a typo--I meant we need to raise taxes on the rich--not raze.

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