Is it time for the left to rethink tactics and positions on illegal immigration and gun control pt2

12:57 pm in Uncategorized by SenatorGovernment

 Previous Post: http://my.firedoglake.com/sengov/2011/03/06/is-it-time-for-the-left-to-rethink-tactics-and-positions-on-illegal-immigration-and-gun-control-pt-1/

But there is a slight problem……the left likes shiny objects too!
Please don‘t get me wrong, there are some basic issues that we have to live and die by, there can be no consideration of backing down when it comes to civil and individual rights, it would be a travesty to ever stop demanding accountability from our elected officials, the battle of ideas currently being waged in Wisconsin, and Ohio, and other states is a battle we just can’t afford to walk away from, much less to lose. Some things are non negotiable, I am not talking about those issues or attempting to classify them as wedge issues, those issues are worth every ounce of political capital expended in their defense.

However, there are two big shiny wedge issues that the conservative movement has consistently used to figuratively pistol whip the left, and to literally score real points and real support from the American public: gun control and illegal immigration. I don’t believe that complete and total advocacy on behalf of these concerns, in their current incarnation rise to the level of live or die issues for the left, in fact I believe they need to reevaluated and put into a proper context in relation to other matters. Allow me to explain.
Gun control and immigration are honestly the only two issues where I can actually understand where the conservative mind is coming from.

More importantly, gun control and immigration may be the only two issues in which there truly is breathing room for compromise or at the very least a purposeful and targeted repackaging of the traditional arguments used to defend the liberal positions on these topics.

 

Gun Control

 

In an effort to educate myself, I took a pit stop at the CDC website:
 http://www.cdc.gov/  just to get some insight into the havoc caused both by, and with guns, and the nature of violent death in the U.S. in general. The most interesting and comprehensive report I could find was one from 2006:  http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5801a1.htm 

it is a summary of data collected from 16 participating states, to date no institution affiliated with the CDC produces numbers on violent deaths at a national level, there are Vital Statistics data by state available for your research, but since this is the most comprehensive report from a credible source that I could find, I chose to use this one.

For me, I was most struck by what those numbers really didn’t drill down on, the lack of answers to the little things that make a whole hell of a lot of difference in people’s lives, I would have loved to have seen the answers to these questions included in the data:
How many folks involved in a violent death had recently lost a job or were dealing with aftermath of a spouse or parent losing a job?

How many people involved in a violent death were suffering through pain and sickness because they didn’t have access to adequate health care?

What percentage of people involved in a violent death had sick kids and couldn’t care for them properly just because they couldn’t afford health insurance?

How many American citizens, victims or perpetrators, involved in a violent death, could not read or write at a level needed to function in society or had other problems with basic education that carried on into their adult lives?

How many folks involved in a violent death were not only mentally ill, but were unable to afford adequate treatment for their mental illness?

How many folks involved in a violent death recently lost their home?

I am not nearly as concerned about how many guns my neighbor owns as I am about whether she can take care of her family.
The amount of bullets my coworker can fit into a magazine doesn’t weigh on my mind nearly as much as the amount of access he has to adequate medical treatment for himself and for his wife and children.

I am convinced, that if a man or woman has the ability to live a decent life and not have to stress and worry about the basic things like having a place to stay, or putting food on the table, taking the kids to the doctor without having to skip buying school clothes etc. then you don’t have to worry about how many guns they have or don’t have or how many bullets they can hold at one time.

Is it perhaps time for the rank and file and the leaders of the progressive and liberal movements to simply and unequivocally agree and publicly proclaim that we have no concern with gun control other than to enforce and staunchly defend and maintain the existing Federal laws?
Or do we prefer to continue to provide free advertising and media exposure to the NRA and the gun manufacturers?

To use just one example, I wish there was a way to calculate how much money Laurence O’Donnell and MSNBC have inadvertently raised for the NRA, the gun manufacturers, and their errand boys in the conservative movement and the Republican party every time the clip of O’Donnell talking about how many bullets a magazine can hold is aired.

I think we would be astonished.