Take Away Their Money but Change the Narrative, Too
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
— Philip K. Dick
The NRA’s money is a solid start. Anything that weakens its stranglehold on the minds of its members, anything that pushes the organization into a corner, anything that fights back against the oligarchical control of this racist* entity is a net positive.
(*I don’t use the word racist to describe an individual or institution that has a passive disdain for POC but for those who/that are actively, openly racist. The NRA’s ties to the known and openly racist John Birch Society aren’t myths, brother.)
Shame the companies into abandoning the NRA but don’t forget that this is not an economic fight. This is a fight for an American Narrative. The story of America and the story of guns is so indelibly intertwined that unweaving the fabric, separating the values of freedom and self-determination from the pernicious violence that took us from a bunch of farmers and intellectual squatters to one of the most powerful nations on the planet, is far bigger than its members getting discounts on rental cars.
Let’s not make the mistake of believing because we can’t see it or don’t hear it that it is gone again. We all thought that people who would publicly use words like “nigger” and “faggot” were almost, nearly erased but they were there, all the time, waiting. Waiting for someone like a hugely popular reality TV star to rally them.
Crippling the corporate endorsements of the NRA is good but not even close to enough.
Reality is far uglier than we believe.
Reality is that, with no regard for the moral outrage we express at the continued allowance of wounded, angry people to easily purchase guns and carry them into public places with an intent to kill and maim strangers, there are “roughly twice as many guns per capita in the United States as there were in 1968: more than 300 million guns in all.”
For context, there are only 236 million registered motor vehicles in the United States. There are more guns in this country than cars.
Reality is that those people with guns will fight for their narrative. And they have the fucking weapons.
Reality is that we on the Left will never be satisfied until all the guns are gone. Sure, we can equivocate and intellectualize but if we believe guns are the problem (and we do) then the only logical conclusion is no guns at all.
It took a civil war with over 600,000 deaths to just begin the process of turning back the horrors of kidnapping Africans for slave labor justified by the narrative that these individuals were somehow “less than” whites. That process is closer to being realized but it’s obvious that, for a far larger slice of the American population than we should be comfortable with, that narrative prevails. That specific narrative begins with a false classification of what “white” is and a systematic institutionalization of prejudice and bigotry that we are just now beginning to unpack. Outrage gets it started but reality dictates the work to be done requires far more than moral stridency.
Reality is that, while our access to information and our ability to communicate resistance is faster than ever in history, change is still and always will be a slow grind. Change takes patience and persistence. Change takes generations rather than spokespeople. Change is not limited to advancing legislation and requires a shift in the mythology we hold dear.
The NRA is not the problem we face. Those 81 million gun owners are the problem we face. The story they cling to about the Old West and American Revolutionaries and the Great War and Dirty Harry and Death Wish and Call of Duty and Die Hard is the problem we face.
Get angry. Be outraged. Then take all that energy and begin to adjust the narrative, one person at a time.