There are three kinds of people who favor gun control: (1) Those who do so in reaction to horrific events and the media coverage of those events. (2) Those who emotionally or intuitively dislike guns or the idea of weapons. (3) Those looking for power, whether in the form of votes or other forms of power as would come from the confiscation of firearms.
Conservatives like United States Senator Ted Cruz (Republican-Texas) are taking a lead in the process of finding common ground with the first group and engaging with the second, which represent most of those who say they want stricter gun control. Here, Senator Cruz meets with prominent gun control advocates…
Senator Cruz has given a lot of thought to the Second Amendment and he knows who he is, where he stands, and why he stands there. This is important, because in order to have a conversation with those who hold a different position, you must first have a position of your own.
Most New Jersey Republicans get nervous around the Second Amendment. Most, not all, but most. This is an institutional thing that goes back decades. Sad to say, but even Bernie Sanders had a better voting record on the Second Amendment than did many New Jersey Republicans. When President Bill Clinton pushed a bill through Congress that required a seven-day waiting period for the purchase of a hand gun, Congressman Sanders (Socialist-Vermont) voted “NO”, while all but one of the Republicans in the New Jersey congressional delegation supported the bill.
Forget the Trump Revolution, New Jersey Republicans never really embraced the Reagan Revolution The brain and nervous system of the party tends to reject new stimuli. Nevertheless, the world has moved on, and the body of the party – those who identify or who could identify as Republicans – bears no resemblance to the past. Too often, the brain and nervous system reacts to them as outsiders and actively rejects them, looking, as they often do, like the Democrats of old.
So the Republican Party in New Jersey – the brains and nervous system of it – needs to adjust itself to its new body, for just as the body cannot function without a brain, the brain is fairly useless without a body to command. Step one in this process is an intellectual one. It requires engagement – brain with body – to learn again who it is and what it wants to do.
Before attempting to convince “swing” voters or Undeclared voters or “soft” Democrats… New Jersey Republicans must first know who they are, what they stand for, and what they would do in power. Only then can they engage in a dialog and adjust their message to sell their beliefs more effectively – that’s sell… more effectively, not scrap. And it really does help to get literate about this and to write it down, as an outline or a platform or whatever you wish to call it, so that it may be referred to and passed along.
As for the more tactile branches of the body – the activists – it is good to keep in mind the advice of Benjamin Franklin to the citizen who wished to know the form of government that we’d got. “A Republic,” he answered, “If you can keep it.” By this Franklin was instructing that citizenship is a daily duty. It does not end with a victorious election but begins there. The body sends a continuous flow of messages to the brain. It does not celebrate and then go dormant. Neither can the activist – or the good citizen.