“Common sense” rhetoric is popular on both sides of the political divide. People pushing almost every conceivable approach to every issue describe their agenda as simple common sense.
It’s not as if Barack Obama invented the trope, but he might be the worst abuser currently performing on the political stage… especially because he uses “common sense” in the Orwellian understanding of the term. His CNN infomercial for gun control turned into a disaster precisely because Obama’s agenda is the exact opposite of common sense.
If the concept of common sense has any meaning at all, in the context of politics, it means an idea that is simple to explain, easy to understand, and almost universally agreed upon. “Murder should be illegal” is a common sense notion.
When politicians assert their ideas are examples of common sense, they’re usually trying to create the illusion of nearly universal agreement. They want to create the impression that everyone who disagrees is dishonest, foolish, or crazy. To have any chance of pulling this off, the political position advanced as “common sense” needs to meet the “simple to explain” and “easy to understand” tests.
That’s where Obama’s gun control agenda falls flat, because every time he’s challenged on his assertions, he dissolves into stammering lunacy. There he was at the CNN “town hall,” claiming that it’s easier and cheaper for 12-year-old children to purchase guns than to buy books:
Sorry, Obama fans, but that’s an absolute bald-faced lie, spat into your face by a man who claims the Constitution itself must yield to his tearful righteousness.
He knows it’s not true. He said it because his agenda is the exact opposite of common sense. He knows he has to push that agenda by making outrageous claims that produce strong emotional reactions in his listeners, prompting them to set reason aside and fearfully submit to his demands. If what Obama wants was truly “common sense,” he wouldn’t have to peddle fabrications and exaggerations nearly ever time he addresses the subject of gun control.
Bear in mind this is also the President who loves to lecture Americans concerned about his abject failure in foreign policy that they’re merely “fearmongering” when they worry about sleeper jihadis shooting up Christmas parties. When it comes to pushing his agenda, he has nothing to offer but fear itself, including the absurd image of twelve-year-olds strolling past the bookstore to buy guns for six bucks and change in the adjacent alley.
Common sense also went out the window when a rape survivor challenged Obama for making it harder for women in her position to buy guns for self-defense:
The President’s first response was to deny that his proposals would interfere with her ability to buy a gun. As astute critics swiftly pointed out online, there is a very real chance that Obama’s stealthy attempt to use mental health treatment as an instrument to attack gun rights makes it quite possible that a rape survivor would be denied the right to carry a firearm:
@EmilyMiller ~ If a rape victim has mental/emotional issues after the assault, her shrink can call it in, and she’s ineligible to carry?
— Regular Larry (@larrythesmg) January 8, 2016
The woman who challenged Obama on CNN, Kimberly Corban, has “struggled with depression, PTSD, and stress-related seizures” ever since her horrifying assault in 2006, according to the Washington Post.
So either the President is being disingenuous, or he hasn’t thought his own proposals all the way through, not as thoroughly as his critics have.
That’s quite possible, because gun control is one of the two paramount examples of the left-wing spirit of Know-Nothingism, in which ignorance of the law is flouted as a badge of pride: I don’t bother with the little details because I Care So Very Damn Much.
(The other example is abortion, where pro-lifers almost invariably understand abortion law better than pro-abortion radicals.)
The real assault on common sense came when Obama tried to convince the rape survivor that she was better off not having a gun to defend herself, because something bad might have happened. This is simply jaw-dropping, a historic low point in the history of the American presidency.
“There are always questions as to whether or not having a firearm in the home protects you from that kind of violence,” pontificated the man who will spend the rest of his life protected by armed security. “And I’m not sure we can resolve that. People argue it both sides. What is true is that you have to be pretty well trained to fire a weapon against somebody who’s assaulting you and catches you by surprise. And what is also true is, there’s always the possibility that that firearm in a home leads to a tragic accident.”
That’s not common sense – it’s blithering idiocy. You’re better off letting yourself get raped and murdered, perhaps along with your children, than risk the chance your use of a firearm in self-defense might not work out? Barack Obama will never, ever put his own wife and daughters at risk with such nonsense.
Also, the people he’s lately been demonizing as a worse threat to America than international terrorists, the National Rifle Association, are the world’s premier advocates of giving gun owners precisely the kind of training they need to handle guns safely and use them effectively. Obama is so blinded by partisan ideology, seeing the NRA as nothing but a wing of his enemies in the Republican Party, that he can’t honestly discuss what the actual mission of the organization involves. Gun-rights advocates are almost universally strong advocates for responsible and effective gun ownership.
And while we’re on the subject of common sense: no, Mr. President, it doesn’t actually take all that much training to pull the trigger on someone at close range, especially when they’re busy climbing through a window to assault you in your bedroom.
That’s why your hometown of Chicago is bathed in blood. Those gang-bangers are using firearms with dismaying effectiveness, in many cases without a great deal of gun combat training. Proper training and practice confers a significant advantage over poorly-trained bloodthirsty thugs, and when the police aren’t around – which is usually the case during a criminal assault – your best hope of survival is an armed citizen who has completed the sort of training the NRA advocates.
Obama’s bizarre response to Kimberly Corban is the opposite of common sense, but it’s consistent with left-wing ideology, which is deeply invested in a vision of helpless, irresponsible citizens who must be protected – from both themselves and each other – by the wise and powerful State. Gun-control zealots have put a great deal of energy behind the talking point that lawful gun ownership is a net safety negative for the gun owner – it’s practically a religious catechism for them.
When they are confronted by someone who has actually survived a horrific assault, and claim it’s better to beg for mercy from a rapist than fend him off with a gun, they sound like complete lunatics… but they pass this nonsense between each other on a daily basis. It makes them feel better about themselves, while simultaneously reinforcing their contempt for the common man and woman.
As noted, it’s particularly hard to swallow this garbage from politicians and rich celebrities who have armed bodyguards. If guns make a house unsafe for children, then the White House is the most unsafe home on Earth.
Obama would probably counter that point by insisting that his home firearms are tended by trained professionals. The unspoken assumption is that having a government badge conveys some mystical aura of responsibility and competence that no private citizen can hope to attain. That’s another assault on common sense, given the staggering incompetence displayed by the Obama Administration on countless fronts over the past seven years… including, sad to say, the performance of the Secret Service.
Here’s the true common-sense reality: the police are unable to protect most citizens from criminal assault, because there aren’t enough cops, and criminals go out of their way to launch assaults when the police are not present. Murderous criminals deliberately choose “gun-free zones” for the worst acts of violence, and it’s transparently obvious why. Criminals don’t obey the fine points of gun laws.
Obama’s proposals have absolutely nothing to do with the crimes he cites to justify them – something he occasionally admits under pressure, only to claim that Doing Something is better than Doing Nothing even if the Something is irrelevant, and really the most important thing is to win symbolic victories against the Evil Gun Lobby.
That’s not remotely sensible, especially when innocent life and the Constitutional rights of the American people are at stake, and Democrat gun-control theatrics are distracting us from addressing the real issues.