The tragedy in Orlando has brought the issues of gun control, gun safety, Islamic terrorism, refugee immigration, and LGBTQ hate crimes back up to the top of America’s election issues list. It is the number one media topic because after Saturday night it is the number one concern to the great majority of Americans. All of us are muttering about one or another aspect of the event and its likely aftermath.
Others will debate the many elements making up these issues; we’re only concerned here with the potential impact of them on the November election. With so many differing views being presented about one or more aspects of this particularly complex mass-murder, we want to try and put the entire episode into the context of what, lest we forget, will likely prove to be the most critically important general election since 1932, or even 1860.
If our attempt to maintain analytical objectivity seems heartless, cold, or unsympathetic, we apologize. We of course thank the true heroes and the caregivers for looking to the human victims. But after all the death and suffering in these episodes, the next victim is very often the truth. We choose to focus on that.
If anyone stands to benefit from this horrible attack, it’s Donald Trump. He already had the upper ground when it comes to mass fear of Islam-inspired terrorism. Ditto with his proposed ban on Muslim immigrants–even though none were involved in the shooting.
Similarly he’s consistently shouted his untruthful claim that Hillary Clinton intends to take away everyone’s guns. Finally, the awful event lets Trump once again blame the President, Trump’s target whenever anything goes wrong.
The National Rifle Association also “wins” in its sick way from all this AR15-wrought death and injury, and the accompanying devastation of innocent lives. The gun manufacturers, the NRA’s partners in political manipulation, will also benefit, as they do after every American mass killing.
The advocates for gun safety and restrictions on sales will “lose”, as they always do now, meaning they will not be able to do anything. President Obama, Senator Clinton, and all their colleagues will once again appear weak and powerless to overcome the gun lobby’s killing-business-as-usual choke hold on the U.S. Congress.
Meaning in turn the vast majority of the American people, who support Senator Clinton’s rational proposals for gun safety and regulation, will not see these measures come into being. Even should she become our President.
Clinton and her supporters will also “lose” potentially significant support by refusing to deal openly and forthrightly with the Islamic theological undercurrent in this barbaric act, and similar mass murders in California and Paris. The truth is that Islamic dogma and cultural practice is homophobic, against girls’ and female rights, against education, against evolutionary science, and opposed to “Western” political ideas, like, democracy, gender equality, free speech, and the rule of non-religious law.
We will not see a national consensus soon emerge from this latest appalling rampage. The people who lost their lives and health and sense of personal freedom were the main losers in this event, but the rest of us will also suffer in the long term by our refusal or inability to deal with these issues.
Here, then is the harsh truth as we struggle to put our daily lives back together after this awful tragedy:
The difficult truth is that there is no simple and quick “fix” for the situation in which we’ve unwittingly placed ourselves. As a Progressive advocate, I’d love to be able to tell readers that if we elect Hillary Clinton, these vexing issues will be resolved with her typical plodding, determined, fair program development and implementation techniques and team leadership. But I cannot say this. It’s not going to happen so easily, or ever, unless we accomplish the political goals needed to support her.
To regain credibility with millions of potential swing state voters, Clinton must walk the fine line between defending Americanized Moslem residents and citizens, and the millions, not thousands, of Islamic fundamentalists in dozens of countries who applaud any attack on any symbol of Western individual freedom. Calling those who understand the history and realities of Islam “Islamophobes” is mindless name-calling, which, in the eyes and hearts of potentially millions of voters, can bring the Clinton campaign right down in the gutter of ignorance currently occupied by Trump and many of his supporters.
We can, we must, grieve, but all our sympathy and grieving; all our coming together as a grand Progressive community; all our rational proposals to reduce gun violence, while dealing with home-grown terrorism, all this is not going to bring about change.
To resolve these conflicts will require legislation, and then a Supreme Court that will uphold the law.
As all know by now, when we defeat Trump in November, we must also retake control of the Senate.
But to resolve the gun issues, the immigration issues, the public safety issues, and the counter-terrorism issues, we must in addition defeat enough sitting Republican members of the House to oust the feckless Paul Ryan and ensure a majority for the Clinton agenda.
Only by wresting the control of the House of Representatives from the die-hard Tea Party faction and their spineless Republican allies and retaking the Senate will President Clinton be able to complete the work of President Obama and begin the implementation of the Progressive agenda.
After a national tragedy, Americans always resolve to work together to ensure it won’t be repeated, or to make sure we never forget the sacrifices of our fellow citizens, whatever their race, origin, ethnicity, or sexual identity may have been.
In the wake of this most recent hateful attack on our free and open society, we must not allow the fear-inspiring hatred of Donald Trump to replace our native kindness, our Constitutional tolerance, our selfless public spirit, and our will to re-make our country as the leader and inspiration of freedom-loving people everywhere.