President Trump stunned Republicans on live television Wednesday by embracing gun control and urging a group of lawmakers at the White House to resurrect gun safety legislation that has been opposed for years by the powerful National Rifle Association and the vast majority of his party.
Let’s be really clear about something—the idea of taking weapons from people reported as and/or displaying clear signs of mental illness is only a radical idea if:
1. You’re a 2nd Amendment extremist.
2. You take the President at his word.
But this is how he works his magic. We’re now debating what is clearly a common sense action within a totally different framework, ‘OMFG, HE SAID WHAT?!,’ instead of just, ‘Well, obviously we’ll do that, but what about the truly radical ideas?’ It’s not even a matter of moving back the goal posts; it’s taking two football teams and the refs and telling them to play the game on a hockey rink.
This is the most dangerous consequence of the Trump presidency. It is also the true heart of the gun debate and the NRA’s power. I won’t even enter the debate under this premise, because doing so would be to help them redefine norms, and to give the NRA actual power. They are extremists by their very nature; their assumed truths don’t align with the assumed truths of the other 99% of the population. There is no debate possible with someone in that position.
I think I’m supposed to be somewhat elated by the churn of conservative Twitter and far-right blogs decrying the Betrayer-in-Chief, but even if I did take him at his word (I don’t), I’m not impressed or excited. A Christian Scientist who accepts medical care for a child with cancer isn’t suddenly an ally for stem cell research; it’s just a nut coming to their senses. This is no different.