National Commentary

Gun Idiocy Vs. American Opinion

There could be no better illustration for the totally abject dysfunction of U.S. politics today than the tortured process that’s been occurring on Capitol Hill over doing something that 90 percent of the U.S. population wants.

In light of all the slaughters of innocents that have taken place on U.S. soil in the recent period, the fact that Congress found itself so difficult to consent to universal background checks for gun purchases reflects a new level of idiocy and disdain for basic civility among those resisting this. We’re not even talking assault weapons and other battlefield mechanisms of mass death that certain elements of the U.S. population love to hoard.

Who do these politicians think they are representing? Never have we seen more clearly the contradiction between vacuous political rhetoric and high-handed posturing, on the one hand, and concrete realities on the other.

There is a level of unreality Republican right wingers have come to introduce into Washington that must have even gun-loving folk living in the real world shaking their heads in puzzlement and disgust. Whatever they feel toward this, it is definitely not respect, and the word “fools” comes most immediately to mind.

The American political landscape – that of the real world, not Washington – is undergoing a transformation now few of the current political establishment of either party, much less media pundits, understand or appreciate.

The American people have raced far into the lead, leaving their so-called leaders in the dust, in terms of grasping many essentials about the world in which we live. There is still a lot of ignorance, apathy and prejudice, but never before has the public needed to rely less on their alleged leaders for guidance than now. Those obstructionist fools in Washington have become worse than meaningless.

It’s all due to the Internet and the democratization of information and knowledge, and “political experts” are clueless about it. There’s little value going into an extended explanation about this to someone who does not already grasp it to some degree.

But a case in point of its effect is the lightning-fast way in which the attitudes of the American population shifted on the issue of gay marriage in the last 12 months. This completely caught everyone off guard, and still no one has articulated a good explanation for it.

The answer lies in the Internet, and the massive back and forth of information flows that, on the one hand, exposed and decried the elevated levels of Tea Party-style chauvinist bullying and legal assaults on women and gays and, on the other hand, revealed the real living profiles of LGBT people struggling for equal rights and the ability to openly love persons of their choice.

Obama and leading Democrats deftly caught the front edge of the wave on this, and by so doing have deserved a lot of credit when they came out for gay marriage last spring. But they were calculating the trend in their own electoral base, which they’d determined was their key strategy for re-election.

But even they did not foresee that last November, ballot measures in no less than four U.S. states approved gay marriage by popular vote, nor anticipate the radical shift in the polls that has happened since then.

Somewhere beneath the calcified formal political calculus that has been the jealously-held province of political establishments, the American people set their own agenda and timetable for fairness and equality.

Now, in 2013, the main elections this year occur in Virginia, where a new governor will be chosen and a new House of Delegates.

Lo and behold to this point, among the effects of last November’s political sea change was the fact that the state’s new U.S. Senator, Democrat Tim Kaine, won by carrying 19 state legislative districts that are currently held by Republicans, those infamous right wing-style Virginia Republicans.

Who gets it? Not the Democrats, apparently.

If those 19 districts all went Democratic in 2013, their party would control the legislature. But no, this notion flies in the face of worn out notions of political hacks unwilling to grab a shifting tide by the tail. At best, they bemoan, their party might gain five seats.