Why Can't We Do Better?
I was walking along a major downtown street in Toronto recently and had to step around a homeless person sleeping on a heat grate. I’ve seen this pathetic sight for many years now in Toronto and always wonder, “Why don’t the cops remove him? Where are the people to care for him? Can’t we do better?”
Of course, after liberal “enlightenments” you can’t infringe on a person’s civil liberties by locking them up— no matter how sick they are. And police have nowhere to warehouse all the lost souls after detaining them seven days. And so conservatives have grudgingly accepted that people on grates is a price we pay for the progressive notion of civil liberty.
The events in Las Vegas this past week followed a similar pattern. After yet another disastrous body count from a deranged/ disaffected/ political shooter, people are left asking, “Can’t we do better?”
But now it’s liberals who don’t understand. They decry the Second Amendment that allows Americans to legally possess firearms. Why do people need multiple semiautomatic weapons (“assault weapons” in their parlance)? The NRA has intimidated Congress into inaction, they say. Jimmy Kimmel, America’s new liberal conscience, says guns are a stain on the nation and we need to talk more about them.
Defenders of the Second Amendment point out to Kimmel that people, not guns, kill. Witness the trucks, knives and swords used in other high-profile mass killings. The Second Amendment is about the individual’s right to resist a totalitarian government as much as it is about guns. And guys like Kimmel don’t mind heavy artillery if it’s used by their security guards to protect him and his loved ones.
The truth is hard to find in such noise. While 120 million Americans have guns, not one of the major news outlets has a reporter dedicated to the issue who can explain it. “So, when a major gun-related story breaks… none of their reporters have expertise,” says the Washington Free Beacon. “They’re not informed on the topic beforehand. They don't understand firearms terminology. They don't understand firearms laws and regulations at either the local, state, or federal level.news outlets in U.S..”
Then everyone says, “Why can’t we do better?”
Indeed. The real problem lies with the bifurcation of society in both the U.S. and Canada. The intolerance of another viewpoint. The denial of a separate perception of a society. The tendency of the press to be partisan rather factual. In this sense, it’s not about guns or mental health policy. It’s about us.
This schism found its genesis in the dissent of the 1960s. (For reference, watch Ken Burns’ Viet Nam series playing on PBS.) Large portions of America (and Canada) became convinced that the status quo wouldn’t work any longer in those years. From civil rights to foreign policy, half of society decided it wanteda fresh start to resemble something like the social democratic model of Europe.
The other half conceded that, yes, society was flawed, but that it was dynamic enough to make changes within the existing framework of its laws and customs. For the past 50 years, the two notions of society have co-existed uneasily on a range of divisive issues from abortion to immigration to, yes, guns.
But the successive elections of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump have torn away the scab. Bush was, according to liberals, unfairly elected, a usurper of Al Gore’s due. Obama, in turn, was the president who reduced all political calculus to identity. Trump is the predictable backlash to the Obama lectures, a roar from the right that still believes much of America is good and worth preserving.
The narratives, given oxygen on Twitter, fester and burn.
In Canada, the same schism has emerged. While America is coastal liberal silos versus the conservative middle, Canada is a few urban hives versus everybody else. The answers to issues like immigration, abortion and defence produce diametrically opposed views. Because there is little viable conservative media in Canada, the schism has been hidden by the progressives at CBC and other outlets.
Typical of the disconnect is the NDP election of Jagmeet Singh, a Sikh, as their new leader. It appears that his greatest political asset is to speak to the moral vanity of the NDP and its media admirers. “He's young, hip and brimming with charisma, a likable rookie with an eye for style,” gushed the Canadian Press. An Ontarian, a visible minority, a left-wing darling, his constituency reflects a grave misunderstanding that the real nation he wants to run is not the Toronto Film Festival.
Many on the Canadian right have been waiting for a Trump to come along to smash the status quo in Canada. While Kevin O’Leary failed in that regard, conservatives are eagerly awaiting the Ontario and federal elections to reinforce the legitimacy of their arguments in the nation. Judging by polls they’ll have a good chance.
Will it result in fewer guns in the U.S. or people sleeping on grates in Canada? Not likely in a time when people in America and Canada cannot agree on the answers, they can’t even agree on what the questions might be.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on anticanetwork.com. He’s also a regular contributor three-times-a-week to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. His website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com)