Kevin Damato | United States
Recently, I was praised by my one of my peers for my handling of a heated debate with a student on my campus who disagreed with me politically. At first, I was confused and didn’t view myself as doing anything special. But after further analysis, my eyes were finally opened to the extent of our communication problems across the country. We have become inundated with emotion, hatred and flat-out stupidity. My words won’t do justice to how sad it was to realize that it is “enlightening” to write about how to have a conversation with another person.
Political disunity has reached an all-time high in the United States and has fascinated me with normalizing our interactions with one another. I have sought out to write about guns in a two-part series, with one article having already come out on “the right” and this one focused on “the left.” I aim to convince my audience that neither side of the traditional political spectrum is free of blame on these types of issues.
I received mixed support after the publishing of my previous article on the right. The support and/or negativity was split across ideological lines. This is not surprising, in fact, it proves my point. The divisiveness of our own bias is blinding us to reality. Neither side is free of blame and as you will see, I attack both sides of the political spectrum with equal amounts of fervor. Understand that I do begrudgingly use broad labels such as “the right” and “the left” liberally throughout the article. This is not meant to group everyone together, but simply provide a generalized analysis of political groups. As always, I implore you all to try and objectively view the advice outlined in this piece.
The Problem with the Left Wing’s View of Guns
To put it bluntly, the “political left” does not understand, nor care to understand the views of Americans that wish to keep their guns. Believe it or not, the people who fight for gun rights are not uneducated backwoods hillbillies who love hearing about mass shootings in the news.
To start, “the left” either blatantly ignores the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution or chooses to reimagine its meaning in a fairytale-like way. Pointless debates on the grammar or word usage of the infamous amendment have gone on for decades and will most likely continue to do so. We need not look any further than some of our founding fathers’ statements on the second amendment to find out what they meant when writing it.
“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” -George Mason, 1788
So what was the point of the Second Amendment? This is a lesson that “the left” doesn’t like to talk about much. The Second Amendment was not created for self-defense or hunting, it was for revolution. The founders, in touch with historical trends, knew that the republic would not last forever. Eventually, evils such as corruption would force the American population to take up arms once again to destroy their government and start over. Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, writes “It is Their Right, It is Their Duty To Throw Off Such Government”.
Understanding the constitutional argument is important because it leads us to culture. Because the United States was founded on the principles of the right to be armed, it has merged into the national identity. For generations, families have passed down the common belief in gun ownership and this is a key feature that “the left” doesn’t recognize.
Despite the coverage in mainstream media, as of 2017, 47% of Americans still say that they believe in gun rights over gun control. In order to truly capture the minds of Americans, “the left” still needs to keep an open mind on the cultural entanglement of guns.
None of the previous reasoning listed is a justification of mass shootings. While “the left’s” lofty goal of ending these mass shootings is noble, it doesn’t make it practical. In the ultra-connected 21st century, there are things that are simply unavoidable. Some of these include homicides, car accidents, and yes, mass shootings. Like the two previously mentioned problems, we should focus much more on mitigating these events, rather than full elimination.
With that being said, the factors to mitigate are still up for debate. Through normalized dialogue and a careful examination of statistics, we can ultimately reach a world in which these events are far less common and destructive.
It all comes down to the conversation. We get nowhere unless we are engaged productively. I will leave you with the same 3 part advice that I stated in my previous article. I challenge you to use this in the next political conversation you participate in. Small victories are how we can turn our current mess around.
Formula to a Respectful Conversation
- First, acknowledge that your opponent’s end goal is a noble one.
- Second, ask pointed questions. If the opponent makes a controversial statement, ask them to support it with a fact.
- Third, be respectful. Keep cool, don’t raise your voice, and give the other person ample time to talk.
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