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John M. Crisp, an opinion columnist for Tribune Information Service, lives in Texas.
Whereas I used to be familiarizing myself with Mike Johnson of Louisiana, our new speaker of the Home, information arrived of a uniquely American occasion, one other mass taking pictures, this time in a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine.
The main points are attribute: Individuals had been having a great time within the bowling alley and on the bar and grille when a white male opened hearth with an assault-style gun. Regardless of Maine’s permissive gun legal guidelines — hid carry is allowed and not using a allow — no good man with a gun stepped up. At the least 18 had been killed and plenty of extra wounded.
Which made me marvel: Why can’t we Individuals have a society that extra carefully resembles the one that the majority of us need?
The very fact is, polling reveals that the majority Individuals favor stricter gun legal guidelines usually, and when particular parts of gun coverage are assessed, the numbers are persuasive. For instance, in line with the Pew Analysis Heart, 61 p.c of Individuals say that it’s too straightforward to acquire a gun and 79 p.c favor elevating the minimal age to purchase a gun to 21 years.
With regards to the applied sciences that make mass murders potential — assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines — most Individuals need them banned, at spectacular charges: 65 p.c ( Pew); 55 p.c ( Gallup); 56 p.c ( PBS, NPR, Marist).
Although most Individuals wish to eradicate or limit these harmful weapons, by some means we’re not in a position to do it. The mass shootings proceed.
I puzzled what our new Home speaker thinks about this. Mike Johnson’s web site isn’t enlightening. A tab labeled Points hyperlinks to ordinary boilerplate about Rule of Regulation and Human Dignity, that are “points” that the majority Individuals already help.
However because the statistics that point out most residents’ desire for stricter gun legal guidelines are inclined to mirror occasion affiliation, it’s a great wager that our new Home speaker — a faithful right-winger — doesn’t help the gun management measures that the majority of us do.
In reality, Johnson seems to carry minority views concerning different points, as nicely. For instance, he’s an outspoken opponent of abortion rights whereas 61 p.c of Individuals imagine that abortion needs to be authorized in all or most circumstances. And whereas 71 p.c of Individuals help same-sex marriage, in 2004 Johnson wrote within the Shreveport Occasions that homosexuality is “inherently unnatural” and that homosexual marriage would result in comparable rights for pedophiles.
However right here’s one thing that ought to fear us all: The good majority of Individuals imagine that Joe Biden gained the final election. Not solely did Mike Johnson vote in opposition to certifying the election, he’s credited with arising with a authorized idea to justify Trump’s fabricated objections to the election, and he supported a Texas lawsuit to overturn the ends in 4 states clearly gained by Biden.
Briefly, Johnson is an election denier; most Individuals aren’t.
It’s a puzzle: How did a person whose views are so out of line with most Individuals’ obtain the highly effective Home speakership, a place that places him second in line for the presidency?
A few of the reply includes the inherent benefits that the minority perspective enjoys in our system, the Electoral School, for instance, and disproportionate illustration within the Senate. Artful gerrymandering has additionally boosted the ability of the minority view.
However radical minority views comparable to Johnson’s get lots of power from the persevering with maintain that former President Donald Trump has on the Republican Get together. In reality, it seems that no candidate might have turn into speaker with out Trump’s imprimatur. That represents lots of energy for the minority and helps clarify how the Election Denier in Chief managed to get an election denier into the speakership.
Due to this fact, we are able to most likely anticipate to have extra insurance policies pressured upon us which might be the alternative of what most Individuals need, which is a sorry scenario in a democracy.
And, subsequently, a outstanding MAGA slogan has some resonance with Individuals who want that public coverage would extra carefully mirror what the general public really wishes: “We wish our nation again.”