The Election That Will Never End (and we thought 2000 was bad...) crawls on, and probably will for the next four years given that roughly half the country is never going to believe that the election wasn't "stolen." It wasn't, but forty years of hyperbolic radio talk show gurus, cable news and now social media has divided Americans into two alternate universes with no overlap at all. No science-fiction novel could have made this plausible, and here we are living in it.

If the "radical left" had the slightest ability to influence an election, far less "steal" it, Bernie Sanders would have just been elected to his second term. I mean, you know this, right?

The trouble with alternate universes is that people stuck in them walk around in terror of phantoms that aren't true and can't happen.

Take the one about "the Democrats are going to nullify the Second Amendment and take our guns."

Seriously, are you kidding me? IT'S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. And here's why:

No President or Congress can change the Second Amendment. They can't. The President, Vice President and every person in Congress could be a Democrat and they couldn't just change (nullify, erase, ignore, whatever) the Second Amendment. The Constitution can only be changed by amending it. Amendments have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

This is never going to happen to the Second Amendment. United States citizens own nearly 40 percent of all the guns in the world held in civilian (i.e. not military or law enforcement) hands.

American civilians own 400 million guns. The entire United States military has only 4.5 million. Law enforcement owns a little more than one million.

So, gun owners, you have 89 guns for every one gun owned by the military. Just who do you think is going to take your guns away? The Second Amendment can't be changed except by the states, any laws violating the Second Amendment will be struck down as unconstitutional, and even attempts to pass gun regulations generally are a non-starter. Every time there's a big mass shooting, gun laws somewhere are reduced (look it up), and not even dead six-year-olds have resulted in any stronger gun laws.

This paranoid fear that somehow "liberals" will "take our guns away" is obviously completely groundless, and yet it's being used to smear and block progressive legislators who only want to make life better and more fair for everyone.

Then I hear, "Liberals will raise our taxes!"

Not YOUR taxes. Unless you're making a million dollars a year or more, your taxes will most likely go down when the wealthy finally pay their fair share.

Or, "America will become a socialist country!"

The United States already IS a socialist country--and you love it that way.

Don't you support our troops? A national military service, paid for by tax dollars, run by the government, which citizens can be drafted into involuntarily...what do you think that is? Hint: it's not capitalism. In a capitalist society, the military would be privately run for profit by corporations like Blackwater. Our military is Socialism in action.

Do you support our police? Tax-funded police departments run by local governments, accountable to citizens, some of them elected (like sheriffs)--that's Socialism. In a capitalist society, all law enforcement would be privately funded agencies accountable only to the big corporations or wealthy families who hired them. That's actually what we had before municipal police departments were established in the 19th century.

How about tax-funded roads and highways? In a capitalist system, all roads and highways would be privately owned and maintained and we'd pay tolls to use them. Would you prefer to have to pay fees and tolls to some rich person every time you left your own driveway? The way things are going, Jeff Bezos will probably take over the Interstate highway system because the government won't have enough money to maintain it. Amazon Prime members, of course, will get a discount on the tolls.

And then there are public schools, public libraries, public utilities...I could go on. All of them established because that was the only way to include and serve everyone, not just those who could buy their way in. That's Socialism in a nutshell.

There's nothing bad about a system that is, as someone said somewhere, "of the people, by the people and for the people." From barn-raisings to crowd-funding, isn't helping each other the true American way?

When did we forget that?

Inanna Arthen