A Flash of Courage

During this past week’s Democratic Party debate, the Spirited Reasoner—who has grown accustomed to taking everything with a grain of salt and a dash of cynicism—was caught off guard by a remarkable expression of what appeared to be sincere and heartfelt courage. In response to a question from ABC’s David Muir about gun control, candidate Beto O’Rourke responded as follows:

“Hell, yeah we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47! We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore!”

And now, two days after that debate, the other Democratic candidates are being forced to explain their own views on gun control.  Will they be so bold?

Prior to those remarks, conventional wisdom had run along the following lines: “Better not offend hunters and other law-abiding Americans by saying anything that might play into the hands of the NRA. Instead, it’s better—i. e., more politically prudent—to use mealy-mouthed language like “meaningful background checks” and “bump stock limitations.”

Based solely on post-debate polling data, the Spirited Reasoner could find no evidence that Mr. O’Rourke’s popularity jumped noticeably up or down as a result of his statements. But one thing seems certain: To defeat Donald Trump, the Democratic nominee will need to possess exactly that type of gumption.  Didn’t Hilary Clinton prove the strategic fallacy of standing for nothing other than “I am not Donald Trump”?

To those who say that the Beto O’Rourke type of approach plays into the hands of the Republican Party, the Spirited Reasoner would respond as follows: Weren’t folks saying the very same thing about Donald Trump just before the 2016 election? Weren’t they criticizing his unvarnished, tell-it-like-it-is approach to politics? Weren’t they saying that he was playing into the hands of Hilary Clinton, and that candidates had to “move to the middle” in order to win the general election?

Oh. And the Spirited Reasoner wants to know what law-abiding folks are planning to do with those AR-15s and AK-47s … Do they really need that type of “self-defense”? If so, then where does that reasoning end?

Maybe we should each invest in our own nuclear bomb. You know, just as a deterrent to that crazy guy down the street …