Yesterday, a hotly-divided Senate rejected four gun control measures on mostly party line votes. Republicans and Democrats predictably pointed fingers at each other, each blaming the other side for Congress’ failure to do anything to stem the onslaught of horrific gun violence.
Americans responded to the Pulse nightclub massacre that took 49 lives with shock, disillusionment, and horror. Congressional inaction on gun violence will only increase their pain. Americans see their institutions as failing, their elected officials as irresponsible, and their government as broken.
And that is all great news for lovers of reform!
As this lack of confidence accelerates, our society will see the outbreak of open strife. The past few years have seen massive cleavages erupt along economic and ethnic lines, and with zero trust in our officials, these tensions will get bigger and nastier. There is potential for civil unrest, massive riots, and even armed conflict, given our well-armed population.
As Congress twiddles its thumbs, food shortages, blackouts, and mass displacement stemming from the twin horrors of climate change and economic collapse are imminent. In short, we are on a path to destruction.
But my optimism stems from what happens after the destruction. It is often said it takes a great crisis to rouse the sleeping beast of the mob. While the average American is fed up with Beltway gridlock and partisan bickering, it will take the death of this same American’s entire family for him to really get it.
In the ashes of a fallen United States, the surviving members of our populace will say “enough is enough.” Consumed with trauma, death, and regret after experiencing the consequences of partisan politics, they will boldly elect a bipartisan superticket of Paul Ryan/Jim Webb (or another combination of radical moderates).
As Naomi Klein explained in The Shock Doctrine, her indispensable guide to policymakers, once a society is torn to shreds, you can put it back together again however you want. As we rebuild a new society with a generous female to male ratio (many men will have perished by this time), we will reflect on the mistakes that destroyed our last one. Entitlement reform, balanced budgets, and educational Founding Father-themed hip hoperas will be written into our new constitution, one which will finally reflect the will of all Americans. The family courts that once shackled fathers with exorbitant alimony payments and unjust ankle monitors? They will be all but a distant memory, and Full Custody will be the watchword of the land.
Out from the irradiated dirt of what was once North America will flower the greatest Democracy the world has ever seen, one built on the principles of bipartisanship, centrism, and putting aside your differences long enough to have a beer with your opponent and try to see eye-to-eye. In this New Order, pundits and Neo-Beltway insiders will be awarded a place of honor in society, treated as wise elders whose pronouncements of the winners and losers of the week are listened to with hushed reverence by well-behaved Millennials, who will no longer be allowed to be entitled.
So thank you, Senators. Your failure to pass gun control has put us on a path to national ruin and utopian rebirth. By heightening the contradictions (the Democrats and the Republicans contradict each other) you have accelerated the pace of change.
The arc of history is long, but it always tends towards the center.
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years, and is the author of “Think-ocracy: The Rise Of The Brainy Congressman”. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at [email protected] or Tweet to @carl_diggler.