Hate and division produce despair

Hate sells. Throughout history this has proven to be consistently true. To examine the logic of this, let’s examine two of today’s most divisive issues: abortion and the gun battle. Some journalists would call this suicidal—could be, but for the sake of discussion, let’s say I’m being more curious.

Since Roe vs. Wade, the abortion issue has divided us as deeply as prohibition, women’s rights, and civil rights. By 1976, this issue had already organized and empowered a new generation of women in the Democrat Party. With 1.2 million lives on the line (at that time), both sides’ actions acknowledge the importance of the issue.

The seeds of hatred developed quickly in the leadership of both movements. As the dirty tricks escalated, so did the level of hate. Every caucus year, it cranks up again as the intimidation tactics increase and we lose more good labor people to the GOP. These are Catholic working people, and of other faiths, who believe and support most of our issues, but differed on one. These are good people who supported the poor and working class as we did, yet they had to be driven out.

This was finally accomplished in the 2000 election year, when our state platform was superseded by the DNC plank, which got it done. It was such a tremendous win; everybody was patting themselves on the back and George W. Bush won the election.

This one issue cost local precincts 25-plus percent of their volunteers and campaign workers over a decade of escalating hatred. If you dig a little, you will find that this issue caused great difficulties across both party lines. We are now down to about 500,000 abortions per year, but hate still sells and it isn’t cheap.

To the greatest extent, the country has now been divided into two parties–the Pro-Life Party, and the Pro-Choice Party—and nobody won anything but 17 years of emotional warfare and deeper hatred. If you’re not disgusted enough, let’s look at the gun issue.

Let us again start with some rough figures: 35,000 total deaths minus 25,000 suicides (different issue from murder), minus 1,500 deaths by cop shootings, minus 4,000-5,000 killed in our ghettos with stolen guns that are already illegal… this brings us down to about 4,500 deaths by murder in the “legal gun areas.”

Of these, the vast-majority are crimes of passion with 60-plus percent of those related to alcohol, (a separate preventable cause other than gun ownership). When you compare this crime of passion segment to the same segment in gun restricting countries, you quickly learn that even without guns, these murders continue to happen. By subtracting that group with the alcohol related elements, it brings us to the number of gun deaths that the real attack on gun rights is about: 1,500-1,800 mostly white lives. A long way from that 35,000 figure we started with.

Now, remember those 4,000-5,000 people of color who are dying in America’s ghettos at the hands of illegally sold? Mostly stolen guns that are “already illegal.” Does it still make sense that the push is to go after legal gun owners and not illegal gun dealers? Does it still make sense that these deaths of white people are more important than the deaths of twice as many people of color? Do hundreds of thousands of other preventable deaths mean nothing compared to infinitesimally lesser numbers of gun deaths? Are you still sure this issue is worth hating your neighbor over? Let’s stop peddling hatred packaged with lies and try a little honest conversation.

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