Today is the 78th anniversary of D-Day. In many ways that event was the most important event of the 20th century in that it was the beginning of the end of the second world war. With those heroes in mind, many of whom died that day defending democracy, I would like to dispel the right wing myth of the slippery slope in regards to guns. There is a slippery slope in American politics which is much more dangerous but it has nothing to do with guns.
Gun regulations are again in the forefront of American politics in the wake of several recent mass shootings. One argument against any sort of gun safety laws you hear from the right is that they are the start down a slippery slope that will conclude with the government confiscating all guns. If you believe that stop reading this immediately and attend to the unicorns on your roof.
The real bottom line on a total confiscation of guns in America is that it is logistically impossible. Who is going to do it and by what method(s)? America has a gun culture and has more privately owned guns than people at about 1.2 guns per person. The next closest country has a tad over .5 guns per person; not even close. I’m talking countries, period. Not just other industrialized and developed countries (our peers).
We do have a slippery slope in American politics that has developed over my adult lifetime. It is the presidents the Republican Party has given us. I contend that it started with Ronald Reagan. Many will make a legitimate case for Richard Nixon being the origin point. In 1980 America elected a retired, B grade actor who had a history of being incorrect and a right wing extremist named Ronald Reagan. He was a likable guy who did more to destroy the American working class than anyone in history. His Vice President was George H. W. Bush who succeeded him in office. It is highly questionable, at best, if H. W. would have ever been president if he was the losing vice presidential candidate in 1980.
In 2000 America elected George W. Bush (or at least that’s what the Supreme Court said). Had he not been his father’s son does anyone think he would have been the GOP nominee let alone been elected? W., like Reagan, was a likable guy. Like Reagan he lowered the intelligence bar for the office.
In 2016 the Republicans nominated and elected Donald Trump. His greatest achievement is that he actually made W. look smart. (Everything in life is relative.) But by that time, after Reagan and W., many Americans no longer cared about the intelligence of presidential candidates. Can you see a slope? There is no doubt the “line” is a decline.
The 2024 election is closer than we think. The current president’s polling numbers are not good to say the least. If he chooses not to run (which I think is a possibility) his successor is certainly an unknown and I expect a “food fight” for the nomination. Trump appears poised for another run in 2024 and if the Republicans do not nominate him someone similar is a highly likely option. The country is very polarized and as we clearly saw in 2016 even an outrageous candidate can win if they have either the Democratic or Republican slot on the ballot.
Yes, there is a slippery slope in American politics the question is: Can democracy survive another slide down it?
If you can read this silently thank those who stormed those beaches 78 years ago. You also might want to thank them when you vote this fall. And by all means do vote! Many died that day and others so that you can vote.
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