Friday, December 4, 2015

it may have always been so but it won't always be so

This morning as I read a review of the newest novel by Milan Kundera I had a comforting thought. It is this: For a long while in our recent history (nearly fifty years) and not so long ago (within the life of nearly everyone reading this), the Soviet Union, however one wanted to think of it, was a given of the future. For people, like Kundera and his audiences of the time, there was a certain comfort in recognizing the USSR would always exist and provide a certain consistency that no matter what vagaries the future held, the bureaucracy and the politboro and der kommissars would always, always, be a force with which they would daily reckon. And then, suddenly, it wasn't.

Whether you subscribe to the theory that it died a death by a thousand cuts or it overextended itself like all empires do or that Mikhail Gorbachev somehow retained his compassion as he worked his way to the Supreme Soviet, the fact remains that, as one of Kundera's characters explains, "We've known for a long time that it was no longer possible to overturn this world, nor reshape it, nor head off its dangerous headlong rush." But then, so suddenly that to many of us outside it took place overnight, that was no longer the case. For good and bad, the Soviet Union was proven not the omnipotent, omnipresent, unassailable monolith it had seemed.

And so, I'm certain, the nation's unwillingness to face head-on its ineffective gun laws. The US is not the wild west and to allow our laws to reflect the wrong idea that the only safe citizen is an armed one puts us all at risk. We wail and grieve after every massacre and swear, "Surely, this time it must change," only to find that the money and influence of the NRA have been there before us and stacked the deck so that, not only will restrictions fail to be tightened they will actually be loosened. And we lose heart and get better accustomed to piles of dead children.

But just as the arc of justice does eventually bend, despite its looking from our perspective like a long cutting blade of indifference, so will the battle to resurrect some sanity to the Second Amendment someday seem preordained. Have faith.

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