We live in a time in America when federal tax rates are at 60 year lows.
We live in a time in America when the total number of guns owned by U.S. citizens has never been so high.....300 million, more or less.
Despite these two irrefutable truths.....NRA conservatives and Tea Party Republicans insist that what our country really needs right now is more guns and lower tax rates. When it comes to the GOP/Tea Party/NRA America Inn.....there's no available space left for reason and compromise.
“I want conservatives to stay strong,” said Christine Morabito, president of the Greater Boston Tea Party. “Sometimes things have to get a lot worse before they get better.”
Anti-tax conservatives from every corner of the nation echo her sentiment.
In more than a dozen interviews, activists said they would rather fall off the cliff than agree to a compromise that includes tax increases for any Americans, no matter how high their income.
An unwavering National Rifle Association said Sunday that not a single new gun regulation would make children safer, that “a media machine” relishes blaming the gun industry for each new attack like the one that occurred at a Connecticut elementary school, and that a White House task force on gun violence may try to undermine the Second Amendment.
These two responses, on tax rates never going up....favored by the Tea Party conservatives.....and that we need more guns in more public and private locations, not less,....favored by NRA conservatives.....leave no room in the American Inn for compromise or reasonable solutions to very solvable problems. It's the Tea Party's way on taxes.....it's the NRA's way on guns.....or there's no way at all.
Tea Party leaders would rather see the entire safety net for vulnerable Americans torn to shreds or eliminated completely than to see income tax rates on millionaires or better rise by 4.6%. NRA conservatives would rather place loaded guns inside schools, churches, bars and grocery stores than to admit that semi-automatic assault weapons belong in the military and not in every citizen's hall closet.
No room for reasonable debate......no room for compromise. Even if more assault weapons in society means more tragedies like Newtown.....even if refusing to budge on tax increases on our wealthiest means doing damage to millions of poor, elderly and vulnerable Americans......there's no room in the Conservative Inn for reflection, for re-evaluation of rigid ideology, for acceptance of empirical evidence or for reasonable compromise with "enemies."
When there is no room for reasoning together, when there is no room for compromise....there can be no democracy. I'm not going to sugar coat what the next few years in American politics will look like.....they will be even more ugly than the last few years. A very rough road ahead indeed.
But if our nation is to survive this current period, if our country is to prosper again, if the U.S. is still going to be the feature-nation of democracy in the world......then NRA and Tea Party intractability must give way to reasonable debate, scientific data and and a willingness to compromise.
Have a joyous Christmas holiday. I'll blog again on Wednesday.
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