How we got to this place

I have a mildly terrifying amount of schoolwork due on the 18th, and thus naturally have been taking my mind off of it by reading the comments over at Making Light. In the “Why I Blog” thread, a commentor complained that his non-standard package of views on guns, free trade, stem cell research, war, etc. means that for all practical purposes he doesn’t exist in our political discourse. (As an atheist who opposes war and abortion and is for single-payer health care and gay rights, I can relate.) Teresa responded by pointing to her own views on guns. One paragraph in particular jumped out at me:

Then there’s the NRA. You know, those guys are no help at all. If I were a conniving right-wing strategist, I’d funnel lots of money to the NRA because their spokesmen are always coming off like such dangerous loonies. I’ve never known one single non-gun-using person who was persuaded by listening to the NRA that there’s such a thing as sane, reasonable gun ownership and use. Instead, they stampede in the opposite direction, which causes sane, reasonable gun owners to stampede rightward, and next thing you know there’s a culture war going on between people who otherwise would be sympathetically inclined.

Substitute “Radical Religious Right” for “NRA” and “abortion opponents” for “gun owners/users”, and a more concise summation of the sad state of “pro-life” politics could hardly be sought.