“Freedom-loving” Americans are supposed to feel relieved when they hear that the National Rifle Association “will not go quietly into the night,” that the organization will forever fight for “the right to survive and protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns, and handguns we want!”
That was the message NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre brought to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC yesterday.
“The NRA’s five million members and America’s 100 million gun owners won’t back down, not now, not ever,” LaPierre said. “Our Second Amendment in this country separates us from any other country on earth. It makes us better than other countries and it makes us stronger than other countries.”
The way LaPierre painted it, America’s freedoms are under siege by “elites” in politics and the media. He warned darkly of a menacing conspiracy designed to rob Americans of “the core freedoms that have always defined us as a nation.”
This sounds very ironic to me. From where I sit, it’s the NRA and its allies that are conspiring to manipulate American politics. They’re the ones who spent $3.4 million in 2013 lobbying to block gun control legislation – even such innocuous measures as background checks. They’re the ones who wrote the infamous Stand Your Ground law and persuaded state legislators to vote for it.
They’re the ones who spent nearly $19 million to influence the 2012 elections.
They’re the ones with an “enemies list” so far reaching that it even included the mayor of our Florida town. They supported his opponent’s campaign because he had the temerity to add his signature to a letter from dozens of American mayors asking the President to do something about the massacres occurring all over the country.
Surely it’s the NRA and the greedy gun manufacturers that are engaged in a conspiracy to subvert American democracy?
But, of course, the audience at CPAC didn’t get it. They cheered LaPierre’s rant so loudly he had to repeat passages in his diatribe to be heard above the crowd.
The CPAC audience also went wild earlier in the conference when Mitch McConnell brought a rifle onstage (photo above) and presented it to his retiring colleague, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn. It was a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NRA.
It seems the right have a thing about guns. I guess brandishing a weapon makes them feel empowered. But what makes them think “our core freedoms” include the right to be exempt from background checks? Who in their right mind wants homicidal maniacs and serial killers to own guns?
It’s not the Second Amendment that makes America strong and free. It’s a system of government based on the will of its citizens.
McConnell and other right-wing nuts can brandish guns to their heart’s content. But it’s the ballot box that remains the weapon of choice in the United States of America.
Now, that’s a “core freedom” worth fighting for.