By Jeff Folloder
Second Amendment Rights—Where is the Support?
Unless you have been buried quite deeply under a rather large rock, you are aware that the United States is currently smothered by a never-ending torrent of political acrimony. Democrats and Republicans are pitted against each other in a perpetual cycle of posturing and blame. The federal government appears to be paralyzed in this current state, without an apparent end in sight. More importantly, it seems that it is almost impossible to determine exactly where a given politician stands. Mostly because those stances seem to change at the drop of a hat or are impossible to identify. More often than not, the words coming out of a given politician’s mouth are vague, contradictory, vacillating or just plain nonsense. And nowhere is the inanity more apparent than when a politician is opining on a subject of “moral” outrage. Here is a fine example:
“My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey:
If, when you say ‘whiskey,’ you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.
But, if when you say ‘whiskey,’ you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.
This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.”
Noah S. “Soggy” Sweat, Jr., a young lawmaker from Mississippi delivered this wonderful piece of flip-flop in 1952, opining on whether his state should continue to prohibit or finally legalize alcohol consumption. It continued to prohibit until 1966. Does the apparent lack of conviction sound familiar? Today we have a startling number of politicians and candidates who make officious declarations, only to reverse them at some point down the line. Even our current president is prone to such sea changes, and that seems to be the issue of greatest concern to our community.
President Trump offered a rare and solid declaration of support for the Second Amendment when running for the office he currently holds. For a variety of reasons, he has sought to attenuate that resolve. Bump stocks were banned in imagined villainy; although the ban is being challenged on a variety of legal fronts, it is the law of the land until the courts decide otherwise. Our president is also questioning his feeling toward lawfully owned suppressors. This is leaving many of us scratching our heads. The real question is: “Has anything changed?” And the answer is most assuredly “no.” Politicians, by their very existence, are here to support their agenda. Their agenda is to get reelected. And if they can make their constituency happy along the way, great, but never believe that that is their primary concern.
We must all endeavor to keep electing those officials who are most able to further our needs and freedoms. But we must also be most aware of the fact that their support is not absolute. Pay heed to the character Jeffrey Pelt in The Hunt for Red October: “Listen, I’m a politician, which means I’m a cheat and a liar, and when I’m not kissing babies, I’m stealing their lollipops. But it also means I keep my options open.” Politicians will use any event to their own advantage. That use may not always play out like we want or hope.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V23N8 (Oct 2019)