Friday, November 06, 2015

Straw Man Attack On Guns

It's on.

It's not "on" because of Bernie Sanders' supporters or Sanders himself, who declared "enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America." Enough of personalities and factors, including the genetically-determined traits of gender and race, which cannot be controlled. Bring on the issues, as Sanders demands.

It's on because Hillary Clinton and some of her supporters are so willing to antagonize individuals with whom they disagree, or even agree. When the Vermont Senator plausibly argued "all the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want" about gun safety, Clinton on at least seven occasions asserted "I won't be silenced," suggesting Sanders had made a sexist remark.

After Sanders' campaign manager, following the playbook of Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and in 2008 Hillary Clinton, suggested that his candidate's main rival would be a fine vice-president, a Clinton supporter complained “I’m stunned that a man like Bernie Sanders, who has clearly committed his life to making the country a better place, would get sucked into this very dangerous rhetoric, which perpetuates sexist and misogynistic stereotypes.”

Given Hillary Clinton is a woman, anything that remotely suggests slight anti-woman bias would understandably displease her campaign. But the former Secretary of State herself now has raised divisive attacks to a new level. Upon addressing the NAACP in Charleston, South Carolina, she appallingly remarked "There are some who say that this [gun violence] is an urban problem. Sometimes what they mean by that is: It’s a black problem. But it’s not. It’s not black, it’s not urban. It’s a deep, profound challenge to who we are."

As William Saletan has observed, "Pull up the transcript of that debate, search for 'urban,' and you’ll see whom Clinton is talking about: Sanders."

Violent crime is disproportionately a problem among urban blacks, and manifested by use of a deadly weapon rather than the fists that were once so easily raised.  In her latest ad (below), Mrs. Clinton comments "this epidemic of gun violence knows no boundaries"  so as to suggest that violence is equal across-the-board, evenly distributed within states, among ethnic groups, even between the sexes. She knows better.

Inasmuch as initial purchase of the weapons typically is made beyond the bounds of the inner city, gun violence truly does know no boundaries. However, the problem is particularly acute- concentrated- in poor black neighborhoods (previously known as "ghettos") amongst young black men.  Statistics are inconvenient things.

Death by firearm is even more concentrated among males and among young people than among minorities.  Not all communities, and not all people, are prone to this scourge.Mrs. Clinton will not acknowledge this reality but is aware of it; if she is not, she has no business pretending she is qualified to be president.

Ironically, Senator Sanders was not even referring to incidence of gun violence and thus hardly was suggesting "it's a black problem."   "As a senator from a rural state," Sanders noted, "what I can tell Secretary Clinton, that all the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want, and that is keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have those guns."  Whether lowering the volume of the debate will bring about modest gun safety legislation is doubtful; but "all the shouting," Sanders recognizes, will not convince many people in rural states.

Those advpcates of Hillary Clinton criticizing Bernie Sanders and/or his supporters for perceived insensitivity toward misogyny or racism find their license in the dominance in GOP presidential polls of Donald Trump and Ben Carson, neither of whom will be elected president.   They are not sufficiently aware, however, that neither will be nominated.  When Hillary Clinton faces off against Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, portraying the American voter as narrow-minded, sexist or racist- without evn applying the label- will be a very dangerous strategy. Republicans and, more importantly, Independents, are not going to be as forgiving as supporters of Bernie Sanders.

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