The NRA On Hypocrisy

I get the feeling that this fight is about to get really ugly: the latest in the battle that is ongoing over gun control involves the mean, personal attack the NRA is running that charges the president with “hypocrisy.” Consider the following lead paragraph:

In a sign of how brutal, emotional and deeply personal the coming battle over gun violence is likely to be, the National Rifle Association on Tuesday accused President Barack Obama of hypocrisy for having the Secret Service protect his daughters even as he opposes the NRA’s call for armed guards in schools.

The vitriolic ad also calls Obama “elitist.” This word, of course, is aimed at the blue-collar rifle owners the NRA is keen to convince Obama wants to disarm. It’s a sure-fire “scare” term that is guaranteed to piss someone off. I have even seen it used against the liberal arts, if you can imagine, in an effort to cast aspersions on studies directed at improving the mind but not preparing students for work. It does seem to be effective in that it persuades people — and that’s the object. It appeals to the emotions, not the brain. And the charge that Obama is a hypocrite is also designed to get the knees jerking among the intellectually challenged.

The fact of the matter is that Presidents have always required protection — as do their families — because there are folks out there carrying guns (as permitted) who would just as soon kill them all. And kidnapping members of the President’s family is always a very real possibility. He is in a special, very public, position and it is not hypocritical on the President’s part to want the children of less public folks to be protected against nut-cases who carry assault weapons into schools. And Columbine has shown that having armed guards at the schools is not the answer: it just sells more guns. Obama’s concern is born of what appears to be genuine empathy for the parents of those whose children were massacred in Connecticut.

And, speaking of hypocrisy, those who live in glass houses should be careful about the stones they throw. Congress is opposed to gun control, for the most part, yet they have metal detectors at every entrance to their hallowed halls to make sure a madman doesn’t wander in and start shooting. So if the NRA wants to target hypocrisy (sorry!) they had best start with the folks they sponsor and help get elected to public office — those who toe the mark and do as they are told and who will therefore be able to count on reelection the next time around. And speaking of hypocrisy, it seems just a bit hypocritical for the gun manufacturers who fund the NRA and clearly have the most at stake in this gun control game to pretend they give a tinker’s dam about the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

But I think the most disturbing thing about this fight over gun control is the fear and hatred that are being stirred up by those who have decided to take the gloves off and fight bare knuckles. The level of discourse keeps getting lower and lower. But we now live in an era of fear and suspicion — and personal attacks funded by corporations whose only concern is with profits — where the emotions are carefully played like a fine instrument by people skilled at producing the melodies they want to hear. I think I can hear the orchestra tuning up in the background. Brace yourself!

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11 thoughts on “The NRA On Hypocrisy

  1. Hugh, good post. I saw on MSN that Gov. Chris Christie has called the NRA on the carpet, rightfully so. At the end of the day, the NRA has a vested interest in the outcome, so their opinion is subjective at best and should be discounted. Unfortunately, they have funded their GOP Congressmen and women a great deal, so their voice must be heard by their donees. Some of their stuff is so outlandish, you want to ask “do you really believe what you just said?” Thanks, BTG

    • It’s impossible to imagine that the members of Congress, on either side, are impartial and not answerable to the big money that bought them their office. But the Republicans don’t even pretend to be concerned about anything but their own reelection.

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  2. I think we give the voting public way too much credit when it comes to guns. The NRA has gone way over the top recently, from their press conference a week after Newtown, to their appearances on the Sunday Circuit, to their recent ad. Sadly for us, good for the NRA, the audience they are appealing to laps this kind of malarky up: every “over the top” statement and claim is true in their audiences eyes. Their clients are the manufacturers, not the deer hunters. But to support them, the NRA is cynical enough to know to get their extremists worked up into a lather, willing to march in the streets, claim Newtown was a hoax, attack the President, and most importantly, contact their legislators.

    Human nature being what it is, the No voters always come out in more force than the Yes voter, and the NRA knows this.

    Great post

    • The NRA has learned what every astute politician out there has learned: it’s all about entertainment. Grab them by their feelings and don’t let go.

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  3. I watched the replays of Colbert and Stewart today taped last night on 1/17. They both toasted Fox News and Limbaugh for going even further off the map in bizarro world. The funny thing is, they did not have to work that hard to make it funny. They just had to show the inane clips. I was thinking about this afterwards. PBS Newshours has well versed reporters and shores them up with very knowledgeable subject matter experts. Fox News reporters are not very well versed (that is kind for some) and then they bring on people who have extreme poistions to discuss a topic and that includes some of their experts. I just had to write this somewhere as the issue of the day is the gun laws that Obama would like passed. Thanks, BTG

  4. Collectively we are reaping what we’ve sown, as Mencken noted years ago:
    “A government can never be the impersonal thing described in textbooks. It is simply a group of men like any other. In every 100 of the men composing it there are two who are honest and intelligent, ten obvious scoundrels and 88 poor fish.”—(Minority Report: H. L. Mencken’s Notebooks, Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1956, Section 326)

  5. I like to think this is a tipping point and that is why the noise is getting louder and louder from the NRA – do you need to borrow my glasses again? 😉 Hope you’re doing well, Hugh. I noticed you missed a day or two posting, so I hope all is well.

  6. I love reading your column because one never knows when a curve ball veers in an unexpected direction! I was reading with straight-faced seriousness and then broke into a chuckle with this one: ” to pretend they give a tinker’s dam about the Second Amendment ”

    thanks for being you!

    z

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