#177 Not Ma Gun!

"As a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association . . . the democrats scare the hell out of me with respect to personal liberties/individual rights. I do not like the Republican devotion to corporations and the wealthy minority, but I am also not interested in living in a cult where they force me to share everything I have and limit what I can possess in my own home." So began a response to my website from an old friend who recently found the Rat's Eye View and felt the urge to enlighten me on the "cult" of Democrats. Apparently the possibility that he might have to register his guns and give up his automatic assault weapons (needed for huntin', I'm sure) is the worst loss of "liberties/individual rights" he can imagine.

I'm amazed that moderately intelligent people can be focused on something as pointless and unimportant as gun ownership, abortion, and/or traffic congestion. When important, democracy-critical rights such as free speech, the Writ of Habeas Corpus, economic justice, and all of the important issues addressed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are under attack by the cult of Radcons, the Republican Party, piddly things like private gun ownership is an insignificant concern.

(No, Billy Bob. The 2nd Amendment--describing the need for "a well regulated Militia"--is a state's rights protection, not a declaration that you should have a gun in case your wife really pisses you off.)

I've heard this wimper so often that I can almost hear it in my sleep, "I do not believe that gun-control laws take guns away from anybody other than law-abiding citizens." Actually, real gun control laws would whip the snot out of anyone not legally owning a gun. They would also make selling a gun, illegally, a felony and put gun stores, gun manufacturers, and street sellers on notice that society will no longer tolerate their risk to civilization. The current "gun control" legislation is pretty worthless and, often, created to generate exactly this kind of sentiment. That great organization of Radcons and corporate communists, the NRA, does everything it can to put the culture in danger for the advantage of a few gun manufacturers. I'm not much of a fan of any corporate-sponsored "user organizations," but the NRA is one of the most vicious, selfish, unpatriotic organizations in human history. If I believed that the United States would be a better place in the future (I don't), I am certain that membership in the NRA would be looked at like membership in Hitler's Brown Shirts in 1939. Typically, many NRA members also have fond memories of the activities of the Brown Shirts.

The Silent Majority issues, gun control and abortion in particular, are distractions. They are red flags the ruling class uses to distract the attention of their minions from the really evil and destructive things that class is doing to the nation and the future of the world. Fortunately for the elites, the Silent Majority is also the Uneducated Majority. They are as easily confused by simple slogans and superstition as humans have been since the beginning of politics and religion. On average, humans are dumb as posts and in the United States that average is slowly slithering back down the evolutionary bank into the slime of single-cell organisms. The very fact that we have tolerated Bush and Cheney for seven long, degrading, Constitution-ignoring years is evidence that we are unfit to occupy space and waste oxygen.

As for the incredibly lame argument that private gun ownership protects citizens from the power of the government . . . Huh? Have you been awake at all in the last decade? Do you know how fast the federal government would roll over a citizen revolution? First, 90% of the NRA's members would strap on their guns, put on brown shirts, and fight alongside the government to put down any democratically inspired uprising. Second, since privacy rights, individual rights of movement, and electronic surveillance has been fine tuned beyond anything Orwell described, any modern uprising would be crushed before it started.

As for home protection, do some research. Outside of hunting, privately owned guns are mostly used to kill wives, husbands, children, other family members, neighbors, school children, and innocent bystanders. "Home protection" is the worst reason to justify gun ownership. "Home destruction," sure, but "protection?" Give me a break.

Using the abortion and gun distraction, Republicans have wiped out 200 years of democracy. We've suffered a judicially appointed Executive Branch, federally sponsored torture and false imprisonment of US and non-US citizens, forged and faked state and national elections, massive federal invasion of privacy (electronic and physical), an upsurge in non-violent, victimless crime prison population (we're now the most incarcerated semi-industrialized nation in the world), a gigantic transfer of wealth from the majority to the minority, a decimated public education system, a handover of the media to international corporate interests, and a collapse of our economic system and you're worried about keeping your gun? Why? So you can shoot yourself before they come for you?

March 2008

#176 This Is Not America

It's late February and this is the first time I've felt like saying something in the Rat Rants. The first two months of the year have been depressingly like the last seven years and I see no signs of improvement on the horizon. I get a moment of "I told you so" because of the home and mortgage crash, but that was something I'd have loved to have been wrong about. Listening to math-deficient "economics experts" babble about "home ownership" as a sign of booming economics for the last seven years has been tough to take. When an expert doesn't know the difference between ownership and borrower-ship, the country is in big trouble.

However, that isn't what inspired me to sit with my computer and write this Rant. For the last seven years, and often before that, a Pat Metheny/David Bowie song has haunted me; "This Is Not America." The refrain is getting louder every day.

The radical Right has brought us Big Brother in a form that even Orwell didn't imagine (or at least describe in writing). All my life, I've watched movies and read books about countries that "disappear" people and considered that the worst fate a person and families could experience. A country that can justify taking citizens in the night (or, worse, in broad daylight) without warrant, justification, or an expectation of a trial is without a reason to exist. A country whose court systems excuse this behavior has stepped out of the small group of civilized nations and into savagery. My country, the United States of America, is just that kind of nation. But I'm here to tell you, this is not America. This is G.W. Bush's primitive little nightmare nation, a country that once could have been great, a country that at least one time in its history rose up, unified, to fight corrupt and evil nations just like the sort that we are now beginning to resemble. This is not America.

The United States of America does not torture anyone, let alone innocent citizens. The United States of America does not condone capital punishment and John Adams explained why when he defended the British soldiers who were some of the murderers in the Boston Massacre. The United States of America is a curious, courageous, scientific nation, not a superstitious, backwards country of fools and cowards. The United States of America is a democracy, not a corporatocracy, not a theocracy, and not a kingdom. The nation was formed as a republic, with the dream of one day being an educated democracy. Business and government serve the public, not the reverse. The United States of America is a symbol to the world of all that can be good in human nature and society, not a terrorist power that tries to frighten the rest of the world into submission. This is not America.

The United States of America is not a country that directs all of its protection and concern toward the richest citizens, neglecting the poor and the working classes to labor in despair and fear. The United States of America is not a class society, regardless of the pitiful whining of the rich and their inbred idle offspring. The United States of America would never attack a smaller, undefended nation to steal that country's natural resources and to undermine their culture and government. The United States of America would never accept the inane jabbering of a Supreme Court that deemed the rights of the rich and powerful and their corrupt and psychopathic organizations, corporations, to be above and superior to individual citizens. The United States of America would run a judge who made such a foolish decision out of town on rail, tarred and feathered. This is not America.

George Bush will be an example of Oscar Wilde's great observation, "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go." I only hope that when Little George leaves he takes his vicious nation with him. It was not America. When those selfish conservatives leave Washington, they will cause great happiness all over the world.

February 2008