Perhaps the main reason I tout every victory for “gun rights” as offering a victory gay Americans is that I believe those who seek to improve the lot of such citizens need to think outside the box of identity politics. That is, we don’t need gay-speicfic legislation advancing our “equality,” but benefit by laws promoting the freedom of all Americans.
Now, to be sure, laws which make it easier for law-abiding Americans to own firearms benefit gay Americans for the same reasons such laws benefit all Americans. The real issue–and the conversation we should be having–is whether we can improve the social situation for gay people through means other than identity politics.
What applies for gay people applies for others as well. Lately (with yesterday’s speech as yet another example), the president has taken to class warfare in making the case for raising additional revenue to fund the federal government. As Republicans have resisted such attempts, his rhetoric serves only to advance his political cause. He has yet to offer a plan which could pass the current Congress, indeed which could even get through the Democratic Senate.
Despite his failures, he has yet to offer an alternative plan to raise revenue; his fellow partisans in the Senate recently nixed Republican plans to raise revenue through tax reform rather than rate increases. He has failed, as Jonah Goldberg wrote about his failure in other policy matters, “for political and ideological reasons, as well as a more basic failure of imagination.”
If the president had a little imagination, he could “think outside the box” and learn from a fellow Democrat, former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley who, in 1986, seeing some similar inequities in the tax code that the president has demagogued in recent days, championed a tax reform plan that earned bipartisan support. Instead of demagoguing tax rates, the president, like the New Jersey Democrat, could sign on to real revenue-enhacning reforms.
He could even turn to a Senate Democrat, Oregon’s Ron Wyden who just five years ago, “commemorating the 20th anniversary of TRA’86,” joined Bradley in “calling for a bi-partisan coalition to repeat the 1986 feat.” Wyden could team up with Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey who, in the “supercommittee” debt negotiations, proposed the reforms that Democrats rejected.
All that is required is a little imagination. And a willingness to think outside the box.