Monday, July 30, 2012

The Gun Control Debate: Honest Conversations Just Aren't Honest

I was once told to never discuss race, sex, money or politics in public because discussions and debates get to impassioned and at the end of it all, all parties involved walk away with hurt feelings, bruised egos, and maybe even a negative view of a person they once called friend. But here at The Urban Politico all we do is talk about that which we aren't supposed to. Just the other day we fellow bloggers were deciding when to re-insert ourselves into the man woman battle of the sexes debate. It's coming. But that's not the point of today's post.

The last post to inspire passion tackled guns in America and the right to bear arms. The discussion in the comments led itself to a heated discussion on our radio show Sunday. Listen Below
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The debate left us with a few conclusions. Fed_Up surmised gun control won't become a real topic in our political discourse until we hit bottom. Old Guru countered gun control and regulation is not necessarily needed but instead a discussion. (Guru forgive me if i've misunderstood your point) I, The Storyteller have this opinion: honest conversations and discussions rarely happen and when they do they are rarely honest. And to Fed_Up's point of hitting the bottom the only bottom I see to make gun control a real issue is the assassination of the President.

There's already been a piss poor planned attempt on the President's life with an assault rifle, and it's not like everybody in this country prays for his safety. With that said if that's the bottom that would wake arm bearing Americans I pray for it to never happen. A Presidential assassination is an extreme when the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Tucson Arizona, on the campus of Virginia Tech or at Columbine High School should have been wake up call enough for second amendment ascribing Americans to realize even though people kill people guns are still a problem. 

That is my belief and many of the members of this blog will disagree with me. And that's okay. That's what makes for great discussion, debate and potential solution. The difference is what the seven members of this blog and you our faithful commenters are able to do on a daily basis is not normal when extrapolated into the greater American society. 

As I type the interwebs are going crazy over an Associated Press article begging the question if race relations have improved in the nearly four years since President Obama was elected. To this question comments range from a resolute no to a resounding yes. I take the murkier position of "it depends." 

The discussions and debates that will arise today, tomorrow and maybe the rest of the week (depending on what else happens in news) on whether the country is leaning more toward post-racialism than racism will come from a surface view of the subject.

To talk about race in this country we have to start from the beginning. But not many like to start from the beginning because it is ugly, violent, and makes one side look, well... racist. The discussion can't start in the middle. The play can't begin in Act II and revisionist history is not allowed. Under those rules and guidelines conversations on race go nowhere because neither side can get past the unspoken brutal beginning, the torturous middle, and the passive aggressive racial nature that marks our present. 

The same goes for the debate about gun control only we view the discussion in reverse. Discussions about guns in this country focus heavily on the beginning; our founding fathers, the revolution and the second amendment. It mentions nothing of the present day where guns are abundant on city streets, access is easy and ammo is stockpiled. This isn't 1776. We aren't declaring independence from a King. And no one is joining a start up militia to restore the government, or "Take America Back." Even the members of the militia movement aren't as revolutionary as their "Don't Tread on Me" flag indicates. 

Yet these discussions get bogged down in idealisms of centuries ago by demagogues who refuse to see the forest separate from the stand of trees. They can't accept the present without rejecting some of the symbolism of the past. Therefore these conversations on gun control become as futile as conversations on race, both bent in its ability to affect a change in the way we relate black to white, gun barrel and bullet to body. 

These two examples are just a simple matter of fact, honest conversations are rarely honest. They simply cannot be. 

In interpersonal relationships -- husband to wife, employee to employer -- honesty can not be had because while the intent of truism may be to make a relationship stronger the outcome more often than not is a disassembly. Fired for insubordination or a break up because of the realization two people who refuse to compromise are just being honest. 

The War on Women was not an honest conversation about women's sexual health in America. It was a political witch hunt for the hottest topic that would result in a temporary boost in the polls for Presidential candidates who cannot run a campaign completely on substance. 

Said substance being the economy. Republicans blame Democrats for submitting to socialism. Democrats blame Republicans for ruining the economy. And neither side shoulders the blame for both having an equal part in this fiscal catastrophe. The American people are indignant at being forced to bail out Wall Street without themselves catching a break. If you subscribe to the belief of just let everything and everybody fail -- the banks that made the wrong bet and people that bought what they knew they couldn't afford -- you are deemed as wholly unAmerican and castigated accordingly. 

We don't have honest conversations about anything in this country because we can't. On gun control we're idealistic, on race our words are choked because we don't no where to begin without someone taking offense, on sex we'd rather pretend it not happen and on money we can't count. The blinders are on our eyes as the country flies by us citizens run by those with the balls to take the reigns but to afraid to steer. 

If you want honesty on anything, especially the hot button topic of the day you're better of watching reality TV. In an hour you'll understand the races sometimes keep themselves down (Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta), money is made to be printed and spent frivolously (Amateur Millionaires), sex is a means to a non-orgasmic end (Single Ladies), and guns are what you pull when you're not a killer but don't want to be tested (Law & Order). All this talk about honesty is just something to appease the political parties and of course totally bullshit.


1. Is honesty on subjects deserving of gravitas possible?
2. If so what are those subjects?
3. What will it take to have a real discussion affecting change on gun control, race, sex and money?

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