Admittedly, this could just be a side-effect of being a comedian, but there is one thing about politics that just drives me up the wall — the lack of intellectual honesty in it. Take for instance the headlines all over left-wing media sites covering the gun control votes held in the Senate yesterday. Here’s a sampling of three headlines, including one of our own, here at Modern Liberals.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank made sure to cover the “Republicans just gave guns to terrorists” angle:
The Rachel Maddow Blog Made sure to focus solely on the Senate Republicans as well:
And yes, even our own website reported the story like so, implying that all four measures were blocked by Republicans:
But the reality here is something that Democrats really need to square themselves with. Reality, as it turns out, is more subtle and nuanced — who’d a thunk it? — than just blaming one party solely for the legislative gridlock that kept literally even the lowest of hanging gun control fruit from being picked this week. The New York Times’ headline was probably the most accurate I saw:
The truth — the whole truth — is that four separate bills were voted on yesterday. Two were written and co-sponsored by the Dems, but two were also written and co-sponsored by the Republicans. The Republicans did in fact block the Democratic bills. However, what wasn’t mentioned in nearly enough liberal publications — if you ask this liberal — was that Democrats sabotaged the Republican bills too.
Now, don’t misread this. I’m not saying the Republican legislation was perfect. I’m not saying it was even good legislation, though I will say the so-called “Cornyn Amendment” actually made a lot more sense to this liberal than the Feinstein version. You see, the amendment that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced would have barred people on the terrorism watch list from buying guns, and on the outset that sounds like exactly what we want.
Except it’s not. Because that list is an affront to the very notion of due process.
Feinstein’s bill would be much better if she in fact had a mechanism in place similar to what’s in Cornyn’s amendment. That amendment basically flags anyone who is on the watch list and if they go to purchase a gun while the flag is active, they will be denied. Then they can appeal that decision to the courts. This is literally the kind of compromise on left and right issues this country is starving for. But how many liberal outlets reported this? How many liberal commentators focused at all on the fact that for all our complaints about them not doing anything about gun control, one Republican actually wrote an amendment that contained even a smidgen of something progressives can agree with/
It’s this kind of shit that makes me loathe to continue making politics my primary comedic material. Sure, the Cornyn amendment was probably lousy with stuff in it that I’d hate, and am glad that the Democrats shut down. But it also had something in it that would have been pretty swell. I always grew up thinking the way our political system worked was that both sides present their cream dream wish list amendments, and then through negotiation and debate — heated though it may be — they hammer out a compromise that leaves both sides feeling like they got the short of the end stick, thereby ensuring it was as close to an equitable outcome as possible.
Here’s one other factoid about the Feinstein amendment I didn’t see nearly enough liberals mention in their anger rants yesterday — the American Civil Liberties Union was strongly opposed to it. That’s right, the ACLU — our ACLU, right fellow libtarded libtards? — was adamantly opposed to Dianne Feinstein’s amendment. That’s because the Democratic Party doesn’t own the ACLU, and it can make decisions on proposed policies and amendments based on these weird things called “principles” and not “party politics.”
Due process is a thing and it needs to be maintained. A rush for security should not cost us every civil liberty we enjoy. Or are all you Democrats and alleged liberals now totally rad with the Patriot Act? Do you just love how dope that Bush era policy is? Because DiFi’s amendment was pretty similar in its total lack of regard for presumption of innocence, which yes, even suspected terrorists are entitled to. Which is why a process that lets them have their day in court, but ultimately keeps them from buying semi-automatic butchery tools is a fair compromise to someone like me.
Of course, there were probably so-called “poison pills” in both the Republican amendments that the GOP knew were in there, and that they’d “force” the Dems to vote against both amendments. So you can’t blame the Democrats entirely if they voted against a gun control bill that also stripped homeless shelter funding or something like that. But let’s be real — the Democrats also probably proposed amendments with stuff in them that they knew would force a “No” vote from the Republicans.
And that, right there, is the pluperfect example of why we cannot progress in this country. Perfect really is the enemy of the good now, and that means that no one gets anything they want. Doesn’t that just warm you deeply, knowing that partisanship has cost us yet another opportunity to get anything done?
Perhaps in the end, John Lennon said it best.
I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth