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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/26/14

Right-Wing Gun Nuts—Our Tame Second Amendment Lapdogs

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(Article changed on January 27, 2014 at 10:09)

(Article changed on January 26, 2014 at 22:01)

You can be sure, if right-wing gun nuts posed any threat to America's real tyrants--like, say, the Koch brothers--their existence wouldn't be tolerated for a Texas minute. But if our right-wing's overgrown pre-pubes wish to make-believe they're tyrants' worst nightmare (where real tyrants like the democracy-trampling Kochs are concerned, they might as well be "packing" cap guns), why not leave such useful idiots to their folly?

Wayne LaPierre--Second Amendment's Biggest Tame Lapdog
Wayne LaPierre--Second Amendment's Biggest Tame Lapdog
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So useful are these idiots that if some grownup patriots on the left decided to invoke the Second Amendment to fight real, imminent tyranny--like, say, shooting any member of Congress who voted to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership--never would our gun-toting lapdogs yelp faster to denounce fellow Americans as terrorists. And fellow Americans, mind you, who'd simply be invoking one of the right-wing's most sacred ideas: that without the Second Amendment, the rest of our Bill of Rights is useless. A plausible assertion--but just dare invoking it if you, as a U.S. left-wing patriot, actually wish to overthrow (rather than fawningly worship) the plutocrat tyrants daily steamrolling our freedoms.

To my mind, our Second Amendment is an ideal prism for viewing our national hypocrisy and mental incoherence--a hypocrisy and incoherence stemming chiefly from our tap-dancing around the brute fact of class war. Perhaps our most striking example is President Obama, that plutocrat tool of even richer plutocrats who splendidly serves his class by (1) being black and (2) exploiting his blackness and his Harvard-schooled oratory to convincingly declaim--though only when the serfs get restless--his populist, anti-plutocrat bullcrap. Yet never does Obama's hypocrisy--and resulting intellectual incoherence--show more than when he talks about the U.S. Constitution, supposedly his legal training's central focus. Above all, when he discusses the Second Amendment.

Though by no means a natural "gun freak" (I don't own any; nor did the family I grew up in), I think a lot about the Second Amendment. Why? Because, feeling so much of what our corrupt government does is actual tyranny, I wonder what means remain for fighting it. I can cite no clearer case of actual tyranny than the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), where a cabal of global corporations, without our knowledge or input (and if fast-track goes through, essentially without Congress's either) gets carte blanche--on a range of issues, from economics to health care to environment--to plan away our future. You needn't know anything further about Obama's stance in the class war than that he warmly endorses fast-track. (The most compelling evidence, though the plutocrat-brainwashed right hardly knows it, for their own case that Obama is a tyrant.) But we do know other things, and one of the most revealing ones is how utterly dim-witted he gets about the Constitution--his area of Harvard specialization--when he chats about the Second Amendment.

Now, our Constitutional sage Mr. Obama, when looming gun control legislation forced him to discuss the Second Amendment (a topic I'm sure he, as Tyrant-in-Chief, would gladly avoid), framed the issue as one of the rights of hunters (and possibly citizens self-protecting against crime; I forget, but it's irrelevant to my argument) versus society's need for rational gun control. Well, duh--just how long has it been since he's read our Second Amendment's succinct, hardly brain-space-taxing wording? Which makes zero reference to hunting (or defense against crime), but does cite "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" as the Constitution's only rationale for the U.S. government not infringing citizens' right to keep and bear arms.

Now, our founders' and framers' known distaste for standing armies doubtless underlay some of their insistence on the need for militias (to fight foreign invaders), but their British common-law legal training, their express grounds for fighting a revolution, and subsequent court interpretations strongly suggest that safeguarding against government tyranny was heavily on their minds. Given that Harvard is a pretty reputable law school, and Obama shows every sign of being intelligent, his omitting the Second Amendment's fundamental aim from discussion is pretty unlikely a mere mistake. Especially since, if he ever honestly forgets it, the NRA's stock Bill of Rights rhetoric (now grown extremely tiresome) is incessantly there to remind him. But on that score, Obama can readily be forgiven for ignoring such blatant hypocrites.

See, just as Obama's glaring omission (in words) strongly suggests his vested interest in evading the Second Amendment's real aim of fighting tyranny, right-wing gun nuts' glaring omission (in actions) equally strongly suggests their lack of real interest in fighting it. For example, any informed citizen seriously interested in invoking the Second Amendment against government tyranny would be "up in arms" over the TPP. Or over Obama's NSA's unconstitutional universal spying. Or over Obama's lying attempt to lead us into an unjustified Syrian war. Or (if they believed in science), Obama's headlong push for destroying a humanly livable climate. Now, Obama is hardly alone responsible for these sinister government acts (nor is any tyrant ever), but my point is that these are all arguable instances of tyranny--and even many lefties agree--from a man righties routinely denounce as a tyrant.

Now, if America's most vocal advocates of the Second Amendment aren't invoking it against the clearest candidates for acts of tyranny going--acts committed by a man they openly call a tyrant--I think that's a fact situation we need to wrap our national mind around. See, if the right wing is never going to use the Second Amendment to fight real, existing tyranny (perhaps sensing deep down, with considerable justice given our government's endless arsenal, that it's now outmoded), we should not allow them to invoke it to resist rational, research-based gun control. Instead, we should work to purge it from our Constitution. Or, if they don't wish to invoke it themselves (because nothing their deified plutocrats want--even if Obama supports it--can be tyranny), they should not so readily denounce as terrorists any gun-toting leftist fellow patriot who, differing on mere questions of fact (like human-caused climate change), might wish to invoke it. For if knowingly shoving energy policies that threaten humanity's survival down the public's throat isn't tyranny, what conceivably is? If the Second Amendment is valid standing law, should only right-wingers brainwashed against valid climate science be allowed to invoke it? One would think climate "humanicide" would furnish some of the strongest grounds for taking up arms against against tyrants.

My point here is not any personal wish to invoke the Second Amendment over climate tyranny. Not merely our government's endless arsenal, but its universal spying and vast propaganda powers to brand patriots "terrorists," scream our Second Amendment is dead. The only way it might work is if substantial public opinion already sided with the armed patriots, whose mounting heroic deaths at a tyrannical government's hands would eventually turn a majority against that government. But in public opinion's prevailing hopeless state, where lefties predictably denounce violence, and righties hypocritically worship tyrants so long as they're rich, invoking the Second Amendment would almost certainly backfire on climate activists. And effectiveness, in our desperate race against the climate doomsday clock, must be every climate activist's watchword.

In fact, though I can conceive no stronger legal case for invoking the Second Amendment--supposedly good, standing law--than government climate tyranny, I doubt even the ACLU would dare defend climate activists who invoked it. My point is simply to insist that when no one, even for the best conceivable reasons, is allowed to invoke the Second Amendment, it should not be on our books blocking rational gun control. And, even more importantly, that where our founders' remedy for tyranny is almost certainly outmoded--but tyranny itself remains scarily real--we should be seriously rethinking our societal means for fighting it.

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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)

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