If the last 24 hours have shown us anything, it is that it is impossible to have a conversation in good faith about the problem of gun violence in America. A critique of the passive response to such events from those in a position to do something about the issue has now devolved into an argument over the liberal media’s “prayer shaming,” which, from my hopelessly subjective and partisan viewpoint, is nothing but a grand exercise in point-missing. This inability to communicate is the latest example of the “negative partisanship” that has taken over American politics, and of a mutual cultural contempt that divides the world into two totally different realities colored by ideology.
If that sounds abstract, then consider the concrete example offered by Ted Cruz, whose take on the mass shooting in San Bernardino flipped completely in less than a day, apparently upon the revelation that the suspected shooter is a Muslim. From yesterday:
We know very little about the main suspect, Syed Rizwan Farook, but he is the sole difference between a world where gun violence is a horrible but ultimately acceptable consequence of the Second Amendment and a world where the United States is unacceptably acquiescent in the face of an existential enemy. On guns, as with other fraught issues, it is ideology all the way down.