Theories Can Crash and Burn–2

“We The People”
(Okay, Maybe 30% of Us)

A few days ago day blogger Jill Dennison posted an “Open Letter to Congress” dealing with a number of issues of relevance to the American people today. I’m going to snatch one of her thoughts as I continue my article about the Women’s Movement in North American and its fiery, hugely successful campaign for Prohibition.

Along with a requests to reign in President Trump and/or his policies, Ms Dennison asks Congress to do something to restrict the sale of firearms, a hot topic in the US these days:
“We The People have made it clear that we want stricter control over firearms in the hands of civilians. We want a ban on assault weapons, waiting periods, and stronger background checks that are actually enforced in all venues.”

Probably some — maybe a lot of — elected representatives agree with these “We the people” and would be ready to do something to prevent the mass shootings happening too often in the US these days. The trouble for politicians is, “We the other people” have to be appeased, too. Restricting access to firearms would involve a showdown with the NRA, a group with a powerful lobby in Congress. If I understand rightly, after the recent shooting in Florida, the National Rifle Association strongly resisted the idea of setting any age limitation for the purchasers of firearms.

And there are a lot of US citizens who cling to the Second Amendment as their only hope of defense, should a modern King George send his Redcoat army— now bearing powerful automatic weapons — to try taking over the US. Or should a Hitler-type dictator arise within the US and take control of the military.

Trouble is, elected leaders who turn into dictators usually are initially popular and successful. By the time things start going south, a lot of the potential resistance had been disabled. It takes time to organize an effective counter-assault — especially when part of the people don’t agree that it’s necessary or that it will work. And then, who will lead this resistance? That can be another battle!

Historians say Hitler was initially quite popular and had an appealing agenda — at least appealing to large group of German voters. Some people got nervous about what he was saying, but he was successful in turning the depressed German economy around. Our parents say his scheme even appealed to a number of German North Americans, some of whom packed up and moved back to Germany to be part of his new order.

The Americans have always referred to the US as a “melting pot,” but those of us looking on see some large lumps in the sauce, factions that could give problems, if push came to shove. Factions that may make a united defense difficult to organize.

Here in Canada, most of us understand the different factions that make up our people and the potential for division. The general “East versus West” sentiments; more particularly Eastern bureaucrats and manufacturing interests against Prairie Folk with an agriculture-based economy. (Though this is changing.) Some folks in British Columbia threaten to pull out and form their own country; Quebec has some strong voices for independence. And then there are various ethnic groups within the whole, not necessarily divisive, but having a voice and capable of taking sides.

When you start out on a political platform, it’s important to understand that you are NOT “We the people.” You are part of “we the people.” And “we the other part of the people” may see even the main issues in a totally different light. This was a reality the WCTU, comprised mainly of Protestant evangelical church women and their supporters, seemed to not grasp when they began their campaign for Prohibition.

They thought they were speaking for all women. When they finally realized that a lot of women wanting the vote were of a different mind-set, or world- view, the movement was headed in the opposite direction than they had envisioned.

To be continued.

15 thoughts on “Theories Can Crash and Burn–2

    • Thank you — and you’re welcome. Of course I have my own opinions on these issues but I’m hoping to present the different angles in a fair way. I’ve found many examples in history where people had things all figured out, all the holes plugged. They launch their ship with a lot of fanfare, then water pours in through a hole they hadn’t thought of and the ship sinks anyway.

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  1. What you are doing, presenting different angles in a fair way, is precisely what is needed in this toxic, divided nation. The problem is that we don’t listen to one another, but we hear only what we want to, and then expound on our own opinions. I am sometimes guilty of this, but I have invited any and all opinions AS LONG AS they are stated with respect. Every now and then I pick up a hater who wants to put down myself and/or my readers, and that I absolutely do not tolerate. Civil discourse seems to be a thing of the past, but it is the only way we will ever heal what I refer to as The Great Divide.

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  2. Interesting, Christine. I could comment on several points, but I will hold myself in check and mention just one. While the Prohibition movement was successful in creating an amendment to the Constitution, it ended in incredible crime, bootlegging, murders, and otherwise just plain lawless behavior. The amendment was repealed, and the illegal liquor trade, much to the regret of some, was put to an end. You really can’t legislate people into your own way of thinking.

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      • I think the last time America was truly united was during WWII, and even then there were those who felt we should have stayed out of it. Obama’s administration created a divide deeper, in my opinion, than the one created by our Civil War. Just please keep in mind that there’s a lot of revisionist history being written these days, and it paints my beloved country with a very black brush.

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      • This revising or distorting of history is a big problem everywhere. People who haven’t studied much actual history draw conclusions based on a twentieth century and/or what they’ve seen in their lifetimes — and a lot of times they’ve no idea just how much mind-sets and standards have changed. I really see this in historical novels—even book covers. Female writers with a twentieth century mindset failing to take into account the social mores of an historical era.

        I read in an article how US Pres Thomas Jefferson kept his wife’s half-sister as a slave/mistress and fathered half a dozen children with her. To a modern liberated female this sounds scandalous and disgusting, whereas back in those days it was common knowledge and not thought unusual or sinful.

        As to the Obama Admin. I don’t know that much. As to the US getting involved in WW II, if the Japanese had left the US alone the war may have dragged out a lot longer, as the US was selling arms to both sides until Pearl Harbor.

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      • True about Jefferson, lots has been written about all that. In my opinion, it was scandalous, no matter what the historical era, and true Bible-believers knew it was wrong. For all the good he accomplished, and his esteemed intelligence, this is a smirch on his character and it’s very sad.

        I agree with you about WWII. I’m not proud of every single thing our government has done. Government is, after all made up of mankind, and the Bible says we’re all sinful, and deceive ourselves. Our treatment of the Japanese was deplorable, as well, here in America. Nothing to be proud of in all that.

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      • AS North Americans collectively, our treatment of the first nations was often despicable, too. As it goes, being labelled by some faith because “this is what we all are here” is much different than possession of a faith that motivates action.
        Re: Jefferson. As I recall, as with others of his day he never professed too be a Christian, but rather a “deist.” Still, in most religions using your wife’s sister as mistress would be tacky and frowned upon.

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