You Are Being Manipulated; Guns, Abortion, Healthcare

“When a broad table is to be made, and the edges of planks do not fit, the artist takes a little from both, and makes a good joint. In like manner here, both sides must part with some of their demands.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

I’ve written it before, and it remains true today. YOU ARE BEING MANIPULATED. You, be you Republican, Democrat, Independent, Liberal, Progressive, or Conservative…YOU are being manipulated. You are being made to feel angry. And you are being made to feel the opposition…from your point of view…is stupid or evil or both. Once I outline a few recent examples, I think you too will agree. I would ask, how could you not?

The predictable political rants over gun control following the calamitous murder of 58 Country Music fans in Las Vegas Sunday night prompts this post. As if a Pavlovian response to it those on the left are calling for restrictions or bans on assault weapons and/or bump stocks which the killer used to make his semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic killing machines. 2nd Amendment advocates reacted predictably saying the Democrats want to take away your guns and make us all servile patrons of a Nanny state.

The fact is that a poll from June 2016 (and other polls) following the killing of 49 at a Orlando nightclub showed that 55% of Americans favored tougher gun laws. But when broken down to specific restrictions like wider background checks, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill or felons or people on the terror watch-list support grows to between 87-90%.

With such overwhelming support you have to wonder why something isn’t done by Congress. Nothing is done, because if something truly effective and SMART were done Democrats and Republicans would lose an issue in which to bludgeon the other party. Each party is served by keeping the issue alive. It goes back to the old axiom “Follow the money”. Donations to each party as well as the NRA and Anti-gun groups grows precipitously from each groups/party’s constituents whenever there is a mass killing in the United States involving guns. USA Today also reported Monday that stocks in U.S. gun makers shot up 3% following the Vegas shootings.

So Democrats keep hammering Republicans as gun lovers and as being unconcerned for those killed by gun users. The GOP is afraid to budge even on the most reasonable gun restrictions for fear of additional measures coming in the future eventually leading to repeal of the 2nd Amendment; and for fear of suffering repercussions at the ballot from gun enthusiasts.

It’s the same with Democrats and abortion. A Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans favor some restrictions on abortion plus an additional 18 percent favor a complete ban. So, 70% of Americans favor some restrictions or a total ban on abortions. A separate ABC News poll shows 62% of Americans favor a ban on late-term or partial birth abortions. But faced with this overwhelming data Democrats jump up and down screaming that Republicans want to take away a woman’s right to choose. They say its part of the GOP’s War on Women. Like Republicans with guns they won’t budge on any reasonable abortion restrictions for fear that money will dry up and liberal voters will remove them from office. Such a position always leads to the nonsensical dodge answer we saw from Hillary Clinton during last year’s debates.

It’s been over 50 years since the Supreme Court Roe vs Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand at any stage of a baby’s development in the womb and we still can’t get Congress and a President to agree that aborting a child days or weeks before their natural birth is essentially murder of a fellow human being. There have been numerous times in the past 25 years when Pro-Life Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress and six years under George W. Bush and right now when they controlled Congress and the Presidency. So why not take action? Because then the GOP wouldn’t have their issue any more. They wouldn’t be able to call Democrats baby killers AND continue to receive the political donations they get from Pro-Life groups. 

Healthcare is no different from the abortion issue and gun control. In watching the Republicans first in the House and then in the Senate continually fail to repeal the falling-apart Affordable Care Act with zero Democratic help or input I’ve come to two conclusions. Democrats will block and fail to support any bill that includes wording repealing Obamacare. Republicans could present a bill that is a near carbon-copy of Obamacare under a different name but Democrats wouldn’t support it if it includes language making AFA the former law of the land. Secondly, Republicans are so invested in repealing Obamacare they would never approve any legislation that keeps the name, AFA, even if it’s proposed solutions completely overturn every unwanted, unworkable aspect of the key piece of legislation in Barack Obama’s legacy.

And holding on to a “problem” for political gain is not just an American tradition. Or have you not heard about the plight of the Palestinian refugees. 70 years ago hundreds of thousands of Arab peoples fled the newly formed state of Israel for neighboring Arab, mostly Muslim, states of Lebanon and Syria and Jordan. Those refugees and their subsequent heirs are denied citizenship, home ownership or any kind of legal status in the countries to which they fled. Stop for a moment and ask yourself, what would happen if they were welcomed in all legal sense into the nations in which they’ve resided for the past 70 years? Would we still have a Palestinian crisis? My guess is no at best; and at worst it would be a far less divisive issue resulting in far less terrorist deaths and wars all these many decades later.

Neither Republican or Democratic party will compromise on our issues. In today’s political real-life world to compromise is to be a traitor to your party and to your constituents.

Thank God our great American leaders of the past didn’t feel that way. At the first Constitutional convention the elderly statesman Benjamin Franklin urged his fellow conventioneers to approve the newly written document saying: “I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution: For when you assemble a Number of Men to have the Advantage of their joint Wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those Men all their Prejudices, their Passions, their Errors of Opinion, their local Interests, and their selfish Views. From such an Assembly can a perfect Production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this System approaching so near to Perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our Enemies, who are waiting with Confidence to hear that our Councils are confounded, like those of the Builders of Babel, and that our States are on the Point of Separation, only to meet hereafter for the Purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.” He compromised.

So did Abraham Lincoln. Most people’s knowledge of history tells them that our 16th President freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. If that’s your memory, your memory is false. Lincoln compromised. His Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 only freed the slaves in the rebellious Confederate states. Four “border states”, Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, had slavery and fought for the Union. Lincoln didn’t want to lose those states to the Confederacy. So he compromised his own principles for the greater good of winning the war, retaining the United States whole and living to fight the battle of slavery at another time.

One of the least known but impactful compromises in American history was the Connecticut Compromise of 1787 which created the bicameral Congress we live under today. It allowed for each state regardless of size to have two representatives in the Senate, and representation based on population in the lower House.

Let’s imagine for a moment what might happen if our political leaders stopped driving wedges between Americans and instead compromised on these three divisive subjects.

What if Democrats agreed to halt all late-term abortions after 20 weeks (like a bill just passed by the House last week) in exchange for bans on bump stocks, assault weapons and gun sales to all with mental health issues, criminal backgrounds, or on the terrorist watch list. Republicans would agree to the greater good of saving unborn lives while relinquishing their debatable and somewhat twisted interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.

On healthcare what if Republicans agreed to let the name Affordable Care Act stand, but agreed with Democrats to completely change it by removing the mandatory insurance purchases by individuals and companies, allowing for intra-state purchase of insurance, and tax-deductible health savings accounts, as well as high deductible catastrophic coverage policies.

What would happen…three issues that have been issues dividing Americans for decades would instantly be removed. Each side would have to compromise on one of their core issues, so neither side would look like losers…or both sides would. And Americans could truly benefit from some common sense legislation that most Americans support. Other issues may still cause us to debate but these 3 vitally important matters will finally be addressed in a truly bipartisan common sense manner.

No I’m not drunk.

 

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