Sunday, January 27, 2013

Us Versus Them

Politics has always been a team sport.  We divide into teams, Republicans versus Democrats or Conservatives versus Liberals.  There are smaller teams, too, Libertarians, Environmentalists, Communists and even more.  We self identify and, often, belong to more than one team.

Many don't join a team, at least not officially.  But we often side with one team or another with regularity.

Catering to this political division, our television news networks have recently become voices for "primarily" one team.  Fox News is often seen as a "Republican" voice.  More recently MSNBC has become a "Democratic Party" voice.

We trust and read and listen to people we perceive are on our team.  They have credibility.  They are seen as honest, intelligent, articulate, wise.  People who are seen as members of the "other team" are foolish, gullible, doctrinaire, duplicitous and, generally, just plain stupid.

Hence Liberals tend to fawn over the writings of Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, giving him nearly unlimited credibility, regardless of what he writes and on what subject.  Meanwhile Conservatives see him as foolish and much worse.

On the issue of gun control, Conservatives love Wayne LaPierre, chairman of the NRA, while Progressives regard him a paid lackey for the gun industry who cares nothing about the death of innocent children.

Us versus Them.

Then along comes Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright David Mamet, author of Glenarry Glen Ross, Speed the Plow and other great plays.  He's an Oscar nominated screenwriter for The Verdict and Wag the Dog and more.  Generally his movies and plays are clearly anti big business anti Capitalist tomes.  As a Liberal and Progressive, surely he's one of us. Isn't he?

I mean he's sure as hell no Wayne LaPierre, is he?  Well, Huffington Post readers who actually pay attention already know he is a Hollywood misfit, a conservative is a big liberal pond.  But nearly the rest of the world is shocked by his cover story in this week's Newsweek: Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm

I want to encourage you all to read the Newsweek essay linked above and below.  It's stunningly brilliant.  And Manet, just like Wayne LaPierre is completely correct.  Here's a tiny snippet or two:
My grandmother came from Russian Poland, near the Polish city of Chelm. Chelm was celebrated, by the Ashkenazi Jews, as the place where the fools dwelt. And my grandmother loved to tell the traditional stories of Chelm.
Its residents, for example, once decided that there was no point in having the sun shine during the day, when it was light out—it would be better should it shine at night, when it was dark. 
Similarly, we modern Solons delight in passing gun laws that, in their entirety, amount to “making crime illegal.” What possible purpose in declaring schools “gun-free zones”?
Who bringing a gun, with evil intent, into a school would be deterred by the sign?
Violence by firearms is most prevalent in big cities with the strictest gun laws. In Chicago and Washington, D.C., for example, it is only the criminals who have guns, the law-abiding populace having been disarmed, and so crime runs riot. 
Cities of similar size in Texas, Florida, Arizona, and elsewhere, which leave the citizen the right to keep and bear arms, guaranteed in the Constitution, typically are much safer. More legal guns equal less crime.
Read his entire essay here: Gun Laws and the Fools of Chelm

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