The real threat to America is the 100 percenters.
They derail every public debate and send it careening into the ditch. They’re the reason we never move a centimeter on the tough issues that require our lawmakers to show guts and character. These extremists and absolutists don’t budge, negotiate or give into common sense.
You’ll find such all-or-nothing types in both parties. They take no prisoners, and they’re ready to die on every hill. They’re not interested in forging compromise or finding solutions, and they’re not satisfied with half a loaf. They don’t really care about resolving problems and avoiding conflict. After all, problems and conflict are what keep them in business – by helping them raise funds.
And while liberals and conservatives will never admit it, there’s no difference between hard-liners on the right and those on the left. Those who see this phenomenon so clearly in the other camp are usually blind to its existence in their own.
I got a strong taste of this poison last year, courtesy of the abortion debate. Even though I’m pro-choice, I expressed outrage and disgust over videos that appeared to show individuals affiliated with Planned Parenthood talking cavalierly about selling the organs of aborted fetuses.
The organization hired an expensive Washington-based public relations firm to spin the whole messy affair and convince Americans that there was nothing to see behind the curtain and that the videos were “heavily edited.”
Yet, I found the videos authentic – and disturbing. For saying this, I was attacked by supporters of Planned Parenthood and told that I was never really pro-choice to begin with.
Well, what do you know about that? It just goes to show that sometimes we don’t know our own minds.
Now, after the Orlando massacre where 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others with a military-style rifle at a gay nightclub, the subject has turned to guns.
Of course, the real issue is something that the Democratic Party and its surrogates in the liberal media are too scared to confront – the fact that radical Islamic terrorism has arrived on the home front.
So they’ve changed the subject to guns. That’s not right. But now that this is the debate, both camps have to navigate it carefully.
Gun-loving conservatives are not careful. The 100 percenters are back. But this time, they’re on the right.
You might support the Second Amendment and believe, as I do, that Americans have the right to bear arms. And you might even be willing to overlook, as I am, the fact that the amendment was written in the late 1700s to provide for a “well-regulated militia” – the need for which no longer exists.
But what if you raise the issue that, while the founders were talking about the right of minutemen to own muskets, we now have to contend with semi-automatic weapons of war that can injure or kill dozens of people in just a few minutes?
What if you think these types of weapons should be banned, and the people who sell them jailed or held liable for civil damages when lawsuits are filed by the families of victims? What if you say that you’re fine with the idea of limiting the number of high-capacity firearms that any one individual can own?
What if you’re uncomfortable with the National Rifle Association having such low regard for law enforcement officers that – years after opposing a ban on armor-piercing “cop killer” bullets – they brush aside concerns by chiefs of police that bad guys have such easy access to heavy artillery? And what if you’re distressed that the NRA treats Republicans in Congress like puppets to the point where Democrats recently had to stage a protest on the House floor to try to pressure GOP lawmakers to even hold votes on bills that would keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists whose names are on the government’s “no-fly list”?
Moreover, what if you understand the politics – that Republicans are going to fight just as aggressively to serve the NRA, which showers them with campaign funds, as Democrats did to defend Planned Parenthood, which does the same for them?
If you think this way – in fact, if you think at all – you’re likely to be told that, surprise, you never really supported the Second Amendment to begin with.
Well, what do you know about that?
Contact Ruben Navarrette at firstname.lastname@example.org.