Maybe it is … I guess my only question would be what exactly they mean by “debate?” Is this a “debate” like football is a “war,” or like pro-wrestling is a “fight?”
In 2013, a Yale psychologist conducted a study which showed that while individuals are able to solve a tricky problem about something innocuous like skin cream according to their intelligence levels, when it comes to gun control, “Political bias had erased the advantages of stronger reasoning skills.”
In this way, gun control has become a microcosm of the US political discussion as a whole — a repeating framework, similarly skewed definitions of “debate,” and the same results.
This is the hyperpolarized arena in which the discussion takes place. Think: “From my cold dead hands” vs. ‘eliminate the 2nd Amendment,’ or ‘Obama/Hillary are coming for your guns’ vs. ‘melt all the guns down like Australia.’
Shallow, absolute, ostentatious. It is a recurring theme.
As in: “Superpredators” vs. “What do we want? Dead Cops,” “God Hates Fags” vs. “more genders please,” repeal vs. replace vs. keep Obamacare, crippling sanctions vs. destructive war, and so on.
The meat and potatoes of the gun control debate at this point surround assault weapons, with each side presenting themselves as ready to die on the hill.
Not normally included in the “debate” is that something like 1% of the 36,000 yearly gun deaths involves assault weapons. It’s not that they shouldn’t be banned, it’s that a ban, in the words of an Obama administration veteran, effectively “does nothing.”
Rarely is there the interplay of ideas between gun advocates, gun control advocates, and civil rights experts on restricting the Second Amendment for people with certain mental health problems, or people on the terror watch list.
Further, gun control advocates rarely focus on increasing suicide prevention services in rural communities, or at-risk youth counseling in inner-cities, or other gun control related measures which bypass the clout of the NRA.
Here is an interesting comparison: 58 people died in the mass-shooting in Las Vegas. Over the course of the week, as the country mourned, expressed outrage, called to action, somewhere around 100 African-American men died from guns.
The proliferation of hyperpolarized, antagonistic, faux-debate devoid of depth does not mean that nothing gets done, as it sometimes seems, particularly when it is being advertised as such by the mainstream media.
Occasionally, gun control bills are passed, such as the Brady Bill and Federal assault weapons ban by the Bill Clinton administration. But they are so laden with loopholes as to make them functionally irrelevant. The current quest to ban “bump stock” modifications on rifles is a quest to oppose the symptom of one of these loopholes — that gun manufacturers can avoid regulations by making modifications or comically minor feature changes.
But even that the issue of gun control constantly exists in public consciousness is great for the gun business. During 8 years in office, President Obama was called the “best gun salesman” on earth, as the gun industry grew by 158%.
The results, of course, are the increase in gun manufacturer’s profits, in power, and political influence.
This is essentially how the system works at this point.
Despite decades of heated “debate” over healthcare, insurance and pharmaceutical companies have every reason to feel like their profits will continue to be guaranteed.
Despite becoming an emblem of a broken system, Wall Street has been continuously deregulated since at least 1980, and bailed out whenever they fail.
Despite accusations of “fake news” thrown around from all sides, mainstream media continues to be owned and controlled by five corporations.
While abortion and gay marriage remain settled but in the spotlight, the Supreme Court continues to support corporations in their efforts to destroy the environment, to influence the political system, to exploit workers and immigrants, and so on.
From Vietnam to Iraq, wallowing in the calamitous effects of the military-industrial complex, the United States continues to spend more on its military than at least the next eight countries combined; military contractors, despite constant lawsuits for bribery, embezzlement, and, worst of all, providing shitty equipment to the troops, continue to rake in record profits.
Again and again, the great many are encouraged to debate and understand through grandiose proclamations and positions, while, much more quietly, corporate interests are furthered by both parties against the common interests of the general public.
I know the definition of fascism is something between vague and broad, but I think this might be corporate fascism.