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by Lawrence Bush
DEMOCRATS, BE WARNED: Gun control is a losing political issue in America. Hillary Clinton will be making a huge mistake if she makes it into a major campaign item to distinguish herself from Bernie Sanders or to otherwise show off her liberal credentials. Any liberal, in fact, who beats the drum on gun control is doing little but losing more votes among white working-class men and women in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, and other crucial and contested states.
Unfettered access to guns is a foundation of rugged individualism, white supremacy, personal liberty, manhood, cowboys, the Wild West, government-off-our-backs revolutionism, the Founding Fathers, and the Constitution of the United States of America. It is embedded in the culture that produces endless Hollywood violence, ongoing discrimination against women in the workplace, militarized police departments, repeated invasions of Muslim countries, and porn and porn and more porn.
Certainly, what gun-control advocates are promoting is 100 percent reasonable: background checks for anyone making a purchase anywhere. Limited magazines. A ban on assault weapons.
But America is not a reasonable land. America is angry, paranoid, and stoked. If gun control didn't get off the ground after the slaughter of 20 little kids and 8 of their teacher-guardians at Sandy Hook, it will not happen at all, until...
... Until there is economic security in America, based on balanced income and wealth distribution, so that people can cool off and relax.
... Until the popular image of government becomes that not of a parasitic nuisance but of an elected force that curbs the power of the wealthy and protects democracy and well-being for us all.
... Until there is an entertainment culture that cultivates community, peace-making, life-saving, and the quest for justice rather than zombie apocalypses, emergency room meltdowns, and more and more police procedurals.
Trying to end violence in America by curbing guns is like trying to stop global climate change by banning Ford pickup trucks, or trying to curb obesity by licensing the sale of ice cream, or trying to stop rape by closing bars two hours earlier and reestablishing dormitory parietals. Unless...
... Unless the National Organization of Police Organizations and every union for cops in the country made gun control their number one issue to protect their members from harm, and went out on the hustings to say so, or...
... Unless the African-American community were to start advocating that all black citizens start packing firearms, wherever it's legal to do so. A few thousand black people with automatic weapons marching on state capitols would get the NRA singing a different tune, I bet.
P.S. Several readers have urged me — given that Jewish Currents has just published a remarkable special issue on Jewish resistance to Nazism — to respond to Dr. Ben Carson's comment that "[T]he likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.” This column is my response.
Ben Carson may be right. The Nazi genocidal campaign may have been slowed down more than it already was by Jewish resistance had Jews been widely armed, and had Jews kept their arms even when the Nazis banned gun ownership. Acquiring weapons was a major challenge in every act of Jewish armed resistance in the ghettos and forests. But for chrissakes, Doctor, do you view modern America as parallel to Nazi Germany? Are we on the verge of totalitarianism fueled by a racist ideology and an expansionist foreign policy?
Hmm, I'll have to think about that myself...
Lawrence Bush edits Jewish Currents.