The biggest albatross around the neck of the political Left in the USA is their raging hoplophobia.
What is hoplophobia? Fear of weapons. Why did Colonel Cooper describe this as a phobia? Because it manifestly is a morbid and illogical fear.
Intelligent, well-educated, politically-aware US citizens, who are otherwise given to rational and logical consideration, discard all logic and fly straight to emotion when the subject of weapons is under discussion. Only fear makes people behave like this.
Allow me to cite as an example Michael Shure of The Young Turks, not because he's particularly prominent, but simply because he's a typical representative of the progressive blogosphere. Mr Shure has solid progressive credentials, good political awareness overall, and if he's more of a liberal capitalist than a true Socialist, that's OK, the dialectic tells us that progress comes in small increments.
And yet, when the subject of weapons is on the table, Mr Shure goes from calmly logical to purely emotional. Here are his own words -
"I talk about guns, and I have no idea what I'm talking about, other than that they seem ridiculous to me."
"I don't care what the Constitution said"
Both these quotes are from the show Michael guest-hosted on August 18th 2009. And yes, that was almost two years ago, but have the facts of the issue really changed any since then?
The point is that the issue of arms and Second Amendment rights reduces an intelligent, articulate, well-educated progressive to a level of response which, by his own admission, has nothing of logic about it, and nothing of informed opinion. This is the painfully sad part. This is the albatross. This is our Achilles' Heel.
Achilles' Heel because it alienates reasonable men and women who would otherwise be sympathetic to our cause. Achilles' Heel because we sound like hypocritical fools, championing Constitutional Rights in every other instance, but execrating the Second Amendment. Achilles' Heel because it makes us look weak and contemptible in the eyes of our opponents.
Have you ever wondered why the radical Right so openly heaps vitriolic scorn upon the political Left? It is more than the standard nationalist tactic of demonizing an opponent. It is more than the arrogantly obnoxious self-righteousness of religious fundamentalism. It is more than the desperate compensation of the quiveringly insecure.
It is the contempt of those who have weapons for those who do not.
The blunt fact of the matter is that most of the radical Right own guns and know how to use them. Most of the political Left do not own guns, and know less then nothing about them. Less than nothing because they have zero actual first-hand knowledge, and a head full of wildly mistaken ideas foisted upon them by television, movies, and other media.
If you think this disparity is irrelevant, you have obviously not studied history very carefully.
Mao Tse Tung once said -
Every Communist must grasp the truth; political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
The modern Chinese government takes an interesting line on the subject of Mao Tse Tung, saying that he was 60% right and 40% wrong. I'll leave you to decide for yourself in which category that statement belongs.