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Divisive Debate

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Will divisive debates about public policy break America apart?

By: Kerby Anderson – pointofview.net – March 7, 2018

Will divisive debates about public policy break America apart? David French fears that could happen with the current debate and dissension over gun control. He wrote about it after the CNN town hall on gun control, but it could just as easily be written about the controversy and conflict that has surfaced this last week.

It might be easy to write off some of the hysterics and hyperbole as an outlier. Surely the American people will regain their senses and realize that even if we have fundamental disagreements about guns and gun legislation, that should never be allowed to pull us apart. That may not be the case.

David French says that “millions of Americans who watched all or part of the town hall came away with a clear message: These people aren’t just angry at what happened in their town, to their friends, and family members: they hate me.” These emotions aren’t fake or manufactured. They come from “fierce conviction and sincere belief.”

We have seen similar hysterics over such policy issues as regulatory reform and net neutrality. One of the guests on my radio program explained the progression from conflict over net neutrality to the anger over the gun debate. He reminded us that those who supported the FCC decision about net neutrality rules were called “Hitler.”

Once you label your opposition as Hitler merely because they want to remove some regulations added two years ago, there is nowhere to go but down. Nobody’s life is at stake by changing some rules affecting the Internet. However, the gun debate does affect lives, so anyone who opposes you is worse than Hitler. You are evil and support a gun organization that is a terrorist organization. Meanwhile, advocates for gun rights believe you are trying to take away their ability to defend themselves.

Perhaps you can now see why such a divisive debate could fracture America. Both sides believe lives are at stake and aren’t likely to compromise.

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