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Dallas Penn Can Save America

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The unsettling thing I noticed last year during all the backslapping at the "Rally to Restore Honor," and all the laughter at the "Rally to Restore Sanity," was how many people in America are clearly insane.

Maybe it's a reaction to the double George Bush II administration (heretofore known as G Dubbz) and the inability to hear anything above the din of bombs exploding in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or perhaps the folks who enjoy the snark and pointed sarcasm of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were actually insane all along. Whatever the case, what was clear as I witnessed thousands of people gather in support of not much and listening to nothing new, is that both sides of America's collective brain might be in urgent need of a leukotomy.

Okay, maybe not that drastic a procedure, but why have we stopped speaking to each other as Americans? Don't we all want the same things from ourselves and from our country? A valuable education for our children, a reputable place to work, an affordable place to live, and a reliable place to go when we feel ill? That is the American dream, isn't it? Yet, instead of concentrating on achieving these four pillars of our society, we are busy blaming others for their choices and their voices. I am unnerved that for so many Americans it has become de rigueur to decry other Americans.

The tragic events this past weekend in Arizona underscore what I witnessed last year. Cast aside the political parties, the conservative or liberal leanings, and ultimately we're left with a plurality of confused people. For this group the Glenn Becks and the Jon Stewarts all preach from the same pulpit — the one that validates determined and smug political views as participation in democracy while being obtuse to the social ramifications. No one is listening to anyone anymore, and worse, no one is listening to themselves. And while we yell at each other and point fingers across the aisle, we accrue a social deficit the likes of which should only be found in a Heinlein novel.

My first post here on the It's A Free Country blog was going to be one of those pep squad rally cheers for bipartisanship on the Beltway. Then the shooting in Arizona on Saturday shifted the tenor in the room. I feel like Americans need to get back to work more than anything else, but now the notion of all these crazy people in America with handguns is a more important concern.

Well then, heed my solution for getting Americans back to work and getting guns out of the hands of the wrong people: former census workers should be conscripted into taking a gun census.

These workers can canvas neighborhoods door-to-door asking citizens if they own guns legally or illegally, and if anyone in the household has ever been in a mental institution or shown signs of needing some specialized mental health care.  This is a political Super Bowl win-win scenario. The U.S. unemployment rate dipped during the census-taking months of 2009. Let's take that pill again, utilizing census bureau workers already trained in canvassing, and solve two problems in one swoop.

And since this is a plan to save America, I think we need to recruit retired Amway and Mary Kay salespeople as well. The census team members who bring in the most guns would get a pink Cadillac. Do you see how we also save Detroit by taking guns out of the hands of crazy people? Of course we should instruct the gun census takers not to personally attempt to remove any firearms from citizens, because that would be, like, unconstitutional. Or even worse, crazy.

Dallas Penn is the creator and editor-in-chief of the daily weblog He is also a founding member of the film-making collective, iNternets Celebrities. Currently a featured columnist on AOL’s, Dallas is known for his contributions to various hip-hop websites, including XXL Magazine, and YouTube videos tackling subjects like social justice, affordable food and all around chicanery. He can always be found online at his website and on Twitter. Or sometimes on VH1’s The Best Week Ever. But only if you do a Google search.