Creating Common Ground
There's a political concept called the Overton Window. It describes a way to define which policies are acceptable to a nation - acceptable to implement or even to discuss. This window will move to the left and right (and shrink and grow) as culture, media, and politicians change what is acceptable. For example, vaccine passports and mandatory quarantine camps would not have been acceptable political concepts three years ago, but they are a reality today.
Obviously, the entire definition of the Overton Window is kind of subjective, and the idea that a two-dimensional box can be drawn around the diverse cultural expectations of a nation of over 300 million different people is kind of preposterous. However, the idea that there is a very rough spectrum of generally acceptable ideas makes sense. Liberals and conservatives have always tried to push the edges of that window in their own respective directions, but they have always been within the same general box.
Until now, anyway. The United States is divided to the point that many conversations literally cannot be held because folks on the left and right have no shared common ground. Kyle Rittenhouse illustrated this point perfectly; one side of the country was so sure his actions were justified that they were offended that he was being criminally charged at all. Meanwhile, the other side was so convinced that he was a mass-murdering white supremacist that his acquittal was not just unacceptable but totally incomprehensible.
The White House recognizes this fracturing to the point that official briefings often contain completely opposite statements to these opposing groups. Again, the Overton Window has ebbed and flowed during all of our lifetimes, but now it seems broken into multiple extreme and exclusive shards. Merely questioning mRNA vaccine safety is now unacceptable on Twitter, for example, even if it is the actual inventor of mRNA vaccines who is doing it.
As concerning as that is, we should be more concerned with the people who are now stuck in the middle. The broken window has left many people behind in no-mans-land, unable to follow the increasingly hostile and vicious left-wing or join an increasingly aggravated and contentious right-wing. These shattered pieces have very sharp edges.
Obviously, most of us at T.REX ARMS have a pretty clear set of political ideas, up to and including a belief that 3D-printed integrally-suppressed fully-automatic firearms should be legal in every home. But we also realize that a lot of people aren't yet ready to move that far, especially if they are still reeling from having the old familiar Overton Window smashed over their heads.
And it's not just that those people are disoriented by having their ideological paradigm crushed; many of them are being silenced online for asking innocent questions after they've already been frozen out of non-online conversations by lockdowns. Many of them have had their jobs destroyed by their former teammates, and they are watching the people they voted for pass legislation that will destroy their existing savings and possibly prevent them from finding jobs in the future.
This creates an opportunity to reach out to these folks and help them.
Now, to complicate matters, this year is an election year. You probably knew that because Twitter has already started to ban Republican candidates. Historically speaking, a midterm election after a contentious presidential election is usually a windfall for the losing side, and I'm sure 2022 will be no exception. I predict we will see three types of people emerge this election season:
First, the usual unethical and opportunistic political animals. This is their chance to capitalize on the turmoil and hurt that so many people are experiencing. They will stoke the anger and division in the country to drive a red wave that they can surf all the way to power and money in Washington.
Second, the truly selfless and principled conservatives, who will run for office to genuinely try to fix the problems and help those who are in real trouble. They don't want to be there, but the destruction they see will motivate them to protect and serve the people around them, even at great personal cost.
Thirdly, the well-meaning but spineless Republican party guys. They know this is a good time to run and that there's a lot of useful things that they really want to do. And yet, once they arrive in the halls of power, they'll get sucked into the swamp and become slippery creatures themselves.
It will be pretty hard to tell these folks apart, especially the last two types. A lot of their messages will be the same. A lot of their promises will be the same. They will all reach out towards those disillusioned and disenfranchised swing voters lying dazed and bloody among the shards of the Overton Window, but for different reasons.
And so, this year we have a tremendous opportunity to connect with people, build a bigger base, and even make some political headway. But we will have to navigate some very tricky waters as we attempt to discern who is actually on our side and figure out how we can actually work to help the people most in need.
And remember, it is people that change people's minds – not videos, podcasts, or hastily-written email newsletters. You are reading this email because you already want to see what is in it, and the concepts in it are probably just fleshing out ideas you already agree with. You can bridge the gap with people outside your Overton Window fragment far more effectively through direct personal conversations than if you just forwarded them this email.
So, we encourage you to maintain those relationships with friends, family, and co-workers and try to help them with their questions and explain your positions. And keep an eye out for future emails because we will be looking at different ways to lobby our existing politicians, keeping you posted on what we are doing in Tennessee, and giving you some input on ways you can get more involved in serving your local communities.
T.REX Talk Podcast
If this is a topic that you find interesting, check out the last two episodes of the T.REX Talk podcast. The Actual Insurrectionists of January 6th discusses one example of how the Overton Window has split on an issue, where both sides aren't really even discussing the same thing anymore. And in the same vein, Isaac Botkin reviewed the book "Gunfight" by Ryan Busse, the former VP of Kimber, who recently left the gun industry to join the gun-control movement. The book wasn't great, but there were some very interesting things to dig into.
Nashville Meet and Greet
T.REX ARMS is hosting a Nashville meetup at the Bold Patriot Brewery on the evening of January 21st, starting at 5:00 PM. We are hoping to do more of these local events this year, and we'll see how that goes!
758 Industrial Road, Centerville, TN, 37033, United States of America
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