We know why it hasn’t happened here. Money in politics, legal bribery, made the NRA an exceptionally powerful lobbying group. Using that money to keep politicians from listening to the majority of their constituents, along with stoking a constant banshee yell from the rabid gun owning minority has kept both parties (although now it’s largely just one party), has kept US from achieving the obvious.
Americans who are used to their government reacting to mass shootings with no more than “thoughts and prayers” may be surprised by the swift reaction. It’s partly because the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its sway over the gun control debate is an American phenomenon. But the fast changes are also possible because New Zealand’s parliamentary system makes it possible for the ruling coalition to turn ideas into reality quickly.
It’s not just guns, it’s of course why we’re behind the rest of the industrialized world on climate change, health care, child care, worker’s rights, etc. and why trying to bring us up to the level of the happier nations in the world seem so radical. We are suckers. We are absolutely being taken by our own society, owned by the elites or self-owned by our own cowardice, but we are living like rubes.
What this phenomenon feeds is the soul shattering fear that trying to do what we need to do, what other countries did decades ago, is radical and we have to shy away from asking for too much from our government. Even advocating for these very simple things will make you unelectable. Of course that’s a self-fulfilling prophesy whereby the modest, so-called centrists are said to be more serious and more electable. So we’ve elected them and they’ve accommodated the fearful and achieved little.
By the way, this is mostly a phenomenon for Democrats and leftists. Being archly conservative has made you more electable to the Republican base without all that much push back from the media who are loathe to call way out of the mainstream Republicans or their proposals “radical.” Lots of very radical, profoundly damaging legislation has been passed over the last 40 years, on a state and federal level, that caused the great disruptions to the middle class, the rising inequality, the diminution of unions, the rollbacks on access to health care for women, etc.
Initiatives to fix the improvements, ie. restore the middle class and common sense and just fucking make American life easier, less stressful and happier are always a hard sell even to the people who recognize that they’re fine ideas… but, you can’t try to push those ideas or we’ll looooooooose. Starting to ask what winning means if the winners won’t fix anything and we continue down the conservative/neoliberal road to middle class serfdom.
For the third year in a row, the U.S. has dropped in the ranking and now sits at No. 19, one spot lower than last year, according to the report produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a U.N. initiative. The top three spots this year were occupied by Finland, Denmark and Norway. At the bottom were Afghanistan, Central African Republic and South Sudan.