We’ve had lots of discussion the last few days about what motivates people opposing reforms that hinge on government-run health care. I’ve concluded that even educated, well-intentioned, and highly engaged people, regardless of ideological orientation, sometimes seem to have an unfortunate tendency to fit the narrative to a worldview.
Take E.J. Dionne, Jr, in a Guest Post right here on TMV today (my emphasis):
On the contrary, violence and the threat of violence have always been used by those who wanted to bypass democratic procedures and the rule of law. Lynching was the act of those who refused to let the legal system do its work. Guns were used on election days in the Deep South during and after Reconstruction to intimidate black voters and take control of state governments.
Yes, I have raised the racial issue, and it is profoundly troubling that firearms should begin to appear with some frequency at a president’s public events only now, when the president is black. Race is not the only thing at stake here, and I have no knowledge of the personal motivations of those carrying the weapons. But our country has a tortured history on these questions, and we need to be honest about it. Those with the guns should know what memories they are stirring.
He has no knowledge of their motivations, but he’s nevertheless raised the racial issue.
Unfortunately, I can’t entirely blame Mr. Dionne for his interpretation. Those folks carrying weapons to heated public events are playing right into the narrative.
I’ve written more about exactly that here, at Polimom Too.