Friday, July 20, 2012


On the subject of the Colorado theater shooting, Time's Michael Grunwald writes:
... I feel terrible about what happened in that movie theater, and I'm agnostic about gun control, but there is nothing wrong with politicizing tragedy.

The talking heads don't like it, because they think of politics as a silly game about who sang out of tune and whose words can be used against them and whose surrogate undercut whose message, but politics is about life and death and human suffering. At least that's what it should be about.

If advocates or experts or even politicians think their policy ideas can prevent the next Aurora -- by preventing potential killers from obtaining guns, by making sure potential victims can carry guns, or by some other method -- then by all means, now is the time to spread the word. Pretty soon, the pundits will be back to "you people" and "you didn't build this" and whatever new verbal gaffe overwhelms the competition to lead the free world.

... politics matters, because policies matter....
Grunwald is right when he says that politics is how we work out the way we run the country, and so we should have political debates about serious life-or-death issues -- or he would be right if we were actually capable of moving forward after having those debates in a direction that might change the way we do things, and if we would keep trying to make good-faith efforts to solve problems until we'd made some genuine progress.

That's how politics should work. But in America right now, that's not how politics does work. Gun policy in America is like tax policy in Washington: we can't move to the left because of relentless Republican opposition, and while we can move to the right a bit, there's still enough Democratic resistance to prevent us from moving all the way to the right, although a slow, steady rightward drift is obvious. But we've been drifting right for so long that a little more rightward drift feels like stasis. (It also doesn't do anything to deal with the problem.) Bottom line: we argue and argue and nothing really changes. So politics is just about the arguing (at least when it's not about speeding up that rightward drift).

If this were a healthy country, Grunwald would be absolutely right bout the appropriateness of having a political debate on guns. But this is not a healthy country. We say we want to prevent massacres like this, but we can't try a lot of what might work. That's how our politics operates. So maybe we should all just shut up -- not because we should in the abstract, but because it's an exercise in futility.


Greg Hao said...

What a great point (and post). I watched a few minutes of CNN today before I almost shot myself in the dead when the anchor asked Dana Bash (who looks positively ghoulishly thin these days) about the politics of gun policies.

The segment was set up with a clip from Bloomberg wanting either/both candidates to talk about gun policies. From there, Bash spent a few minutes talking about why Democrats have largely abandoned the issue and how this will hurt Obama politically. Nowhere did they mention about the sheer lunacy of the GOP position.

When people wonder why CNN is in the toilet, it's stupid shit like this.

Ten Bears said...

Remember when I first started calling it the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid?* Back then I called it the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on CNN/Faux News Kool-Aid.

'Nuff said?

*course not, i ain't white, and i ain't liberal.

Victor said...

Here's my short list of the people and organization in the last 1/2 Century, who've done more damage to America than the dreaded "Fifth Columnist's" could ever have done (minus assassins):
Richard Nixon.
Ronald Reagan.
Conservative talk radio/Rush Limbaugh.
FOX News.
George W. Bush/Dick Cheney.

And now, add Wayne LaPierre - who should have been on my list decades ago.

Never Ben Better said...

You can add Joe McCarthy to the list, and after you've read this masterful dissection of the man, the damage he did, and the latest eruption of his legacy, I believe you'll agree:

Victor said...

"Tailgunner Joe" would have been on that list, except I only went back 50 years - and THAT was my error. You're right, a lot of the maniacs on the Conservative side, are his ethical, moral, and intellectual children, grandchildren, and now, great-grandchildren.