Image via Shutterstock/Sheila Fitzgerald
As a lifelong gun owner and bird hunter extraordinaire, I have struggled for the last 20 years to understand the rabid, over-the-top support for the freedom to own any and all types of guns. Never once, in my 50-plus years of hunting, do I remember any of my hunter friends saying, “Boy, I wish had my AR-14 out here today!” Never! But there is a substantial segment of our society that worries over the potential loss of their ability to buy them. Why? those guns are for killing PEOPLE, not wild animals. Not only that, but it would make the necessary skill, the thing that makes hunting a sport, obsolete.
But I think I have figured it out: The NRA has had the support of right wing conservatives even before Ronald Reagan because they have managed to connect gun rights to their bread and butter issue of small government. It’s important to remember that smaller government is really just code for less taxes. (I mean, these are the same people that are pro-spend-trillions-on-the-military so how small are they really talking?) But, by framing gun rights as an absolute right and government as tyrannical, they have all sorts of Americans who benefit from our adequate at best sized government clamoring for downsizing. This downsizing would, of course, result in lower taxes. The real goal!
All of these emotional issues continue with that theme. We don’t need a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. It’s absurd. We need an updated and functioning immigration policy. This country was built on immigration, but it was structured and managed. The majority of the narcotics and people that enter our country are coming in through legal ports of entry anyway, not crawling on the ground beneath barbed wire from Mexico to the US. But emotionalizing these issues into an ‘us versus them’,your American family or their non-American family, facilitates a connection between the working people and the super rich in our country so that it looks like votes for their candidates are votes in favor of all Americans. The reality is that they are votes to enrich the already wealthy and continue to hobble the working class who have much more in common with hard-working, hopeful immigrants than those who hoard wealth. The 1 Percenters. Also, somehow the end result is always smaller government and less taxes. Weird, right?
The truth is, many wealthy individuals don’t care about guns or walls or education or health care, unless they are in related businesses and their involvement in shaping policies means more money in their bank accounts. After all, they have people to protect them; most live in gated communities with guards. They certainly don’t care about education or health care; their families go to the best private schools and can see any doctor in the country they want to see. Heck, most of those doctors belong to the same clubs we do. They’ll see us or anyone in our family any time we ask. At the end of the day, it’s really all about the money and paying as little as possible to the government.
An old adage says “follow the money.” It’s time we Americans stop getting thrown off the trail with clever catchphrases and seemingly heartfelt speeches, and start looking at the actions and motivations of those in office. The sooner we do, the sooner we will see that not only are we being used, but that this ultra-small government millions of Americans have been begging for would be the worst thing to possibly happen to communities across the country.