Liberals Arming Up
Welcome to the party pal.
By Jeff Knox
(December 22, 2016) As the proverbial shoe moved to the other foot November 8th, liberals suddenly found themselves worrying about the future and their own survival. In the circle of life and partisan politics, what goes around, comes around, and liberals’ heads are spinning. The thought of our nation, with Donald Trump as President, and Republicans in the majority in both the House and the Senate, not to mention a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, has many liberals envisioning a dystopian future of pollution, poverty, crime, and climate crisis. Their dreams of “free” education, “free” healthcare, the extinction of the internal combustion engine and coal-fired power plants – and all of the destructive, extraction activities that go into fueling those nasty, dirty, devices – were dashed on the rocks of political whim by bitter, clinging, white people – who are undoubtedly racist – and the, oh so unfair, Electoral College system. In the blink of an eye the future turned from one of hope, tolerance, and social justice, to one of dread, polarization, and privilege.
The liberals haven’t realized it yet, and probably never actually will, but they are now experiencing something very much like what the “deplorables” in fly-over country have been feeling for at least 8 years. The difference, of course, is that where the rubes in the heartland’s fears were just delusional fantasies fueled by narrow-mindedness and personal prejudices, the fears of the liberal masses are real, tangible, and virtually unavoidable. Donald Trump and his followers are evil, racist, misogynists that are going to destroy the nation. At least, that’s how they see it.
Thankfully, our nation’s founders foresaw the challenges of philosophical conflict, and they built in checks and balances which still function well enough to keep one group from running roughshod over the rest. Obama chipped away at it, and certainly did damage, but not the catastrophic harm his detractors feared. Likewise, G.W. Bush, with his foreign entanglements and domestic surveillance-state, undermined liberty, but didn’t extinguish it as some feared.
Perception in politics is very much about perspective and what a person believes to actually be possible. Predictions of a president trying to seize total control and declare himself King, have persisted from the very foundation of the Republic. The fact that it never has happened does not mean however, that it never could happen, and no one can say with any certainty just how close we might have come to that at some point in the past. But such fears are only viable to someone who actually believes it possible, and no one ever believes that their guy could possibly do such a thing.
In the early 1970s, my late father, Neal Knox, had a good friend who was a competitive shooter. Although a shooter and a gun owner, this friend was one of those gun owners who supports “reasonable restrictions” on other people’s guns. He got frustrated with Dad for spending so much time and energy fighting a gun control bill sponsored by the Nixon administration. The guy said; “Neal, how can you be worried about some gun control bill when Nixon is about to impose martial law and declare himself emperor for life?” Dad looked him in the eye and growled, “And what do you think keeps him from doing it?”
In that moment, because this guy actually believed that Nixon might do such a thing, a light bulb lit in his head, and suddenly he truly understood the real purpose of the Second Amendment, and the importance of Americans being armed. Had he not truly believed that Nixon might try to stage a coup, he would never have accepted the idea that Americans being armed is an actual, viable deterrent to government overreach.
Many conservatives had the lights go on during the Clinton administration, with the example of Waco burning in the backs of their minds. Some liberals came around to the idea during the George W. Bush years after passage of the Patriot Act. I recall reading a thread in the forum of the Daily Kos – a far-left news and views site – toward the end of the Bush administration. Some “progressives” were discussing the need for liberals to arm themselves for fear that Bush was going to be coming for them. What was astounding to me was not that these people really believed this was a possibility, but that as they were advocating for liberal armament for this gravest extreme, they were also advocating for “reasonable” gun laws – like full registration of all guns and gun owners. I registered with the site just to be able to point out the obvious disconnect in their reasoning: “Bush is coming for liberals, so you want liberals to buy guns, and you want a law passed to be sure that Bush knows who has guns?”
Now we’re seeing that same illogical reasoning playing out again. It’s looking less likely that Obama is going to stage a “Reichstag fire” as a way to hold onto power, and the only “faithless electors” who voted against their states’ choices were pledged to Hillary. So as the fears of the right fade, the fears of the left are winding up toward hyper-drive. In the midst of all of that, groups like the Pink Pistols, and the Liberal Gun Club are reporting surges in membership, and “progressives” appear to be picking up the slack to keep gun sales booming – while calling for stricter gun laws and denying that gun control played a key role in their candidates being trounced last November.
Liberals’ capacity for cognitive dissonance is stunning, but the wisdom and prescience of the Founders is even more amazing. There is much to be done to revive and restore that wisdom, let’s hope our leaders can make some progress in that direction over the next four years.