Turn the Beat AroundRight now, I’m a huge fan of Bernie Sanders for the exact same reason I am (horribly) amused by the antics of Donald Trump:

In both cases, the spokesman in question is holding the feet of all the other candidates of his party to the fire, forcing them to admit their otherwise-unstated positions and defend their relevance. They are dragging the other candidates out of their comfort zone kicking and screaming into the light (or revealing them as fence-sitters or party ass-kissers with little personal integrity who dare say nothing for fear of potentially upsetting their base).

The presence of those two (Sanders and Trump) have certainly added greatly to the spectacle of the long ramp-up to the Primaries. Eventually all those other candidates are going to have start either agreeing with, or rebutting, what those two are saying. Interesting, indeed.

In an odd way, it’s remarkably refreshing. You don’t often encounter the kind of frankness and unfiltered personal opinion that Trump so pompously tosses around in all directions, eternally confident in his ability to smother any and all rational opposition beneath a wave of bombast. Unlike the rest of his fellow GOP candidates, Trump’s not afraid of the skeletons in his closet; his opinion seems to be that since he doesn’t care what skeletons he has in his closet, neither should you. He’s rich and shameless, and in our present society that means the Emperor is fully dressed. He tweets something abysmally insipid or insulting, then deletes it a few hours later and we’re all supposed to magically pretend it never existed. The ability to live in a fantasy world of that magnitude is a magical gift indeed; rendered still more amazing by the willingness of so many spectators to support that fantasy, because it is the private fantasy of a mogul.

So yeah, I personally love it when Trump spews something racist or sexist over the airwaves and the rest of his fellow GOP candidates all collectively pull out their fluttery little folding fans and fan their faces, muttering how outlandish he is, obviously exasperated. Or when Sanders lets fly with an anti-corporate policy point, and Hillary kind of lets it hang in the air, while she looks down at her feet. This is high comedy, folks. I adore every minute of it.

Meanwhile, there has been yet another mass shooting in the country, inspiring a fresh round of gun control talk, countered by the gun lobby’s insistence that it’s all just a mental health issue.

Which makes a certain amount of sense, because it IS a mental health issue.

Except… it’s a mental health issue involving the ENTIRE population and our masturbatory affinity for gun-fueled self-empowerment fantasies, and the industries that have grown rich supporting them.

More specifically, it’s an addiction. Like America’s addiction to junk food and the obesity epidemic it’s engendered, like our addiction to pornographic sex fantasies, like our addiction to violent action movies and televised murder and endless, glittering displays in shopping malls. There is something wrong with us, and we know it. And we have to do something, ANYTHING, to make us feel better about ourselves, to replace whatever it is we’ve lost and our souls desperately crave. Our media bombards us with fear in order to sell us the products of their corporate masters, and we keep choking ourselves on greed and avarice and paranoia and the endless quest for more of ANYTHING to fill the void our lonely, physically-disconnected lifestyle has left inside us.

Of course the problem isn’t precisely the existence of so many guns in our society; it’s our addiction to the way guns makes us feel—empowered, sexy, lethal, heroic. It’s not guns that are the real problem so much as it is the FANTASY of guns. And some people can’t tell the difference between that fantasy and reality until it’s too late.

Of course the first step in effectively dealing with any addiction is getting the addict to admit he has a problem. But one cannot expect the owners of the industries that enable the addicts to support any action that might negatively affect the market for their product.

Product market over-saturation, in this case, means instant product availability to the very individuals who may be too irresponsible to handle the product, or to those who seek to willingly misuse it.

Pharmaceuticals, high fructose corn syrup, guns. Pick your poison.