I don’t really consider myself a Democrat. I am a liberal, a progressive thinker, an independent thinker. I think there are more people out there that are like me than most Republican and Tea Party candidates think there are. Conservatives tend to think in terms of black and white. But life is not black and white. It is shades of gray. And I have to say I think that Democrats have also forgotten this. I think when it came to running their campaigns; Democrats looked at how to win over votes of previously Republican voters. Instead, they should have looked at what it was about President Barack Obama that won over the moderates in the 2012 election. He already had the Democrats. The Black and White thinkers on the Republican side are not going to change their votes. Only the moderates are susceptible to changing how they vote. So what was it about Barack Obama that swayed their votes to the left?
We should look at polls. Not the manipulated polls on who likes what candidate, but what the people support and what they don’t. For instance, while the far right does not support gay marriage, most left leaning and moderate voters do. So what did Barack Obama do about it? He got behind it.
Let’s look at Marijuana legalization. Not only do the left leaning voters support it, but so do most moderates and many right leaning voters. Then there are the scientists who get behind the studies that show Marijuana is a powerful treatment for many ailments, therefore the science supports it. So the president supports it. His reasons for supporting it are legitimate, and supported by facts.
If we want to look at gun control, a topic most far right voters are gung-ho about opposing, perhaps we should look at the language of it. You can’t reason with the unreasonable, but you can with the moderates. So change how you approach regulatory laws regarding guns. Don’t call it control, because no one wants to be controlled. Don’t call it regulation because the far right has turned regulation into a dirty word. Call it consumer protection and self-defense education. The whole reason the right wants to maintain their ‘right to bear arms’ is to ‘protect’ what’s theirs, right? So approach regulation as a way to teach them how to protect what’s theirs without putting their loved ones in more danger. Teach diligence in safety measures. Perhaps even teaching self-control methods and anger management as part of the required safety classes would help win over these gun supporters.
As far as assault rifles go, while I don’t believe that assault rifles have any business in civilian hands, perhaps we should take baby steps and require intensive training classes to qualify for ownership of these kinds of weapons. These training classes could be designed and conducted by military personnel and used as they use them. When the military sends their recruits into training, they are aware of mental health issues that could lead to a bad end and they do weed people out that way. I witnessed that first hand. It should be a “three strikes you’re out” kind of program. If they can’t pass the training and the mental health screenings they can take it again until they fail three times. Anyone that cannot pass after taking the training three times is unsafe with an assault rifle in his or her hands and should not be allowed to own such a weapon.
Essentially, what I’m trying to convey here is that we need a rebranding and a new approach. And we need to be careful of the trigger words the right has bastardized the meaning of. While these words fit what we are trying to do by official definition, they have been given negative connotations by the right wing extremists and must be abandoned if we want to win over the moderates.