Thursday, December 27, 2012

No Middle Ground

Well, Christmas is over. My kids are back in Florida. We had a bit of a snowstorm - nothing major compared to some of the blizzards I've lived through but it was enough to make me appreciate retirement and being able to sit at home and watch it from the window. It was my little Pekinese, Chantilly's, first experience with snow and she loved it. She raced across the yard through all the pristine white, dove into it, tried to catch in her mouth, scooped it up with her nose and flung it everywhere, then came in wet and panting and happy. It was fun to see her get so much joy from snow.

During the Christmas stuff, I took a break from the news. Well, it would be more accurate to say the news took a break from me. Most of the normally-news networks featured religious programming or human interest stories. So, now it's back to real life and I tune back in to find that we're still teetering on the edge of the fiscal cliff but oh, well, the House of Representatives has gone home for the holidays. I guess they figure they'll worry about their responsibility for America's economy later...sometime....maybe.

My son and I watched the Wizard of Oz together while he was here. I told him the Republicans in Congress remind me of the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow, all rolled into one. They have no heart, no brain and no courage. I have followed and written about politics for 30 years and while there have been political differences, huge debates, even impeachments during that time, I don't ever remember our political "leaders" being so much the victim of their own dysfunctional behavior.

They make me think of the Sandy Hook shooter. They have broken into the government with their assault rifle and extra clips, driven by an incomprehensible rage at the president and all of us who dared to vote him back into office, seemingly determined to force us to see their mentally unhinged light by raining death and destruction down upon us. Let us go over the cliff; let the markets collapse, let our credit rating tank, refuse to increase the debt ceiling so America can't pay its bills, let taxes go up and allow government employees be furloughed and the unemployed lose their checks. Let us look like immature idiots to the rest of the world. Sometimes you have to destroy the village to save it and they seem ready to destroy our national village if we, the president and the Democrats and even the sensible Republicans (what few are left) don't agree to give them their way. Forget the election and what they people voted for. As with their religious beliefs, they are so cosmically sure they are right, they can justify using any means to reach their ends.

And running counterpoint to their kind of political "no middle ground" game, is the NRA doing exactly the same. Gun lovers couch every argument as if those of us who support sensible gun control legislation want to send out the storm troopers to confiscate every gun in America. They have to argue that case because if they told the truth, people would see the reasonableness of banning assault rifles and high capacity magazines and closing the gun show loophole. Most people would probably agree that just maybe it might be wise for the Republicans to finally confirm a Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for the first time in six years or allow the ATF to computerize its database so that if cops are trying to track down a gun used to commit a crime, ATF employees don't have to search manually.

But, this is the Republican party circa 2013. There is no such thing as meeting halfway. You can tell a gun fanatic - "so, okay, I'm willing to try Wayne LaPierre's suggestion of putting armed guards in school if there is even the slightest possibility that it might prevent the next massacre". Are you then willing to try my way...banning assault weapons and high-cap mags based on the same possibility? Let's work together on this.

Oh, my God, no. No way! You give 100 percent; I give zero. That's the way it works in crazy Republicanville.

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