And this is a very good thing.
Wednesday evening, there was a CNN town hall in Florida about gun violence. Unlike most of these staged events, there wasn’t very much of a ‘press filter.’ Of course, in the absence of that filter, there’s always the danger of a kook showing up (and I’m not referring to NRA spokesvermin Dana Loesch). But the format did allow for some very tough questions, the kind of questions that political reporters usually won’t ask–and when they do, it’s not from an immediate sense of lived, personal urgency, but trying to ask the tough ‘gotcha’ question. It’s not a game or a career move.
We also were reminded that America isn’t just a Midwestern diner at breakfast filled with Trump voters. It is diverse in belief and opinion. You could tell that there was some quiet surprise that a significant portion of the audience cheered a ban on semi-automatic rifles, and that there was no shame to be had in doing so. Despite all of the blather about coastal elites and what-not, there’s very little coverage of what ordinary ‘coastal elites’, whether they live in Parkland–or the Bronx–actually think, want, and need, to the point where columnist Will Bunch wrote a satirical piece, “In the heart of Anti-Trump Country, voters still pine for an America better than its president.” Unlike the political press corps, many people despise the NRA and anti-gun control politicians, and they aren’t interested in ‘both sides’ equivalences.
If nothing else, the meeting helped dispel the false notions that the left is not ethical and that the right are mainstream. I won’t go as far to say I’m optimistic, but something snuck past our supposed political betters Wednesday evening, and I’m not sure they can get rid of it. That’s a good thing.