Friday, February 08, 2008

Another Essay With Politics In It-- So Watch Out!

The second Amendment may just be a wasted ideal, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing...
by Scott from Oregon
As an aging liberal itinerant carpenter, well versed in the reality of the world- having seen much of it by virtue of growing up in an Air Force home and then under the roof of a Pan Am pilot, and then as a traveling handyman for fifteen years- I find it odd that I am sitting in a Republican camp, breaking bread with very conservative folks, watching the goings on of the conservative political movement as an insider.

And as a Republican newly-signed, I am trying on some of the uniforms of the conservative belief system, to see how they feel, to see how I feel, and I find the whole process rather illuminating.

The road to the conservative viewpoint was not long and tortured, but short and instantaneous. I've long understood from a liberal viewpoint how our government was not near ideal, and had listened to people complaining with a nod of tacit understanding and a decent level of concern, for most of my life. Then, one day, I realized that the problem and the solution were the same- too much power collected in Washington.

The only candidate who talked about this problem was Ron Paul, which led me to sign up as a Republican, which led me to be inside the conservative mindset even though I find it foreign territory.

So now I am contemplating the Second Amendment, and the right to bear arms, as I watch my fellow conservatives raise their fists in unison and cheer whenever a conservative candidate mentions his support for this Constitutional right.

OK. I'll go along. Americans have a right to arm themselves to defend themselves against tyranny. OK. We keep lots of guns and stuff around in case tyranny rears its ugly head. Got it. (I am going to purposefully ignore hunting, target shooting and self-defense in my thinking, because, even as a liberal, I see the virtue of firearms in these cases.)

But back to tyranny and an armed populace. Does this even make sense? Does it even gel with modern societal American norms? Are Americans likely to gather into militias and combat the tyranny that may befall them by shooting and killing others in a kind of civil war? Does this kind of thing even seem plausible anymore? I have a hard time imagining a society as civil as America has become heading down this road. It just doesn't seem to fit the feel of the American personality anymore. Does it to you?

As John McCain gets anointed the GOP candidate by the media, and as Ron Paul gets further shunned and ignored by the media, my American core knows that tyranny is upon us. The media is wilfully oppressing the thoughts and desires of one segment of America, in order to propigate its own interests. I know that the American ideals of Democracy and government "by the people" has been taken away, to some large degree, by Corporations who control the media and who have their own agendas. This is the "soft fascism" that Ron Paul mentioned in an interview not long ago.

And as this tyranny is inflicted upon us, I can't help but muse about the Second Amendment. About militias and guns and fighting for our liberty. About our developed civility and our willingness to be cordial in spite of the fact that we covet the Second Amendment in order to prevent tyranny in the first place. It feels like America as a unit has either outgrown or lost the spirit that created the notion that we needed the Second Amendment to begin with. It seems like we have lost our revolutionary, freedom loving souls.

It feels like the Second Amendment and the feelings behind it are as irrelevant as the rest of the ideals that were born by our founders back in the good old days.

It seems like the Constitution is becoming nothing more than a document we give lip service to, every once in awhile...


Billy said...

I agree, Scott, though this is gospel to conservatives. These are not the days of militias. As you suggest, we have outgrown the sentiment of the 2nd.

And no one needs an Uzi. As for handguns, stats that I trust indicate most people end up shooting a family member. And in the event of a break-in, even people trained don't have the additional training to know how to react before pulling the trigger.

Yeah, the hunters can do their thing. Plus I used to skeet shoot--and had fun.

I think the 2nd does hamper our march to civility. Ask most policemen how they feel about the right to bear arms and automatic weapons.

Anonymous said...

It's not too late - step away from the dark side.

carol said...

Don't you think these conservative types you're prepared to sit down with would give your ideals short shrift? They certainly make fun of your friend Ron Paul. You're wasting your time, IMO.

Ing said...

Interesting post.

I think you might be right that we (America) have lost the spirit of the behind the Constitution--the whole thing, not just that one amendment about the right to keep and bear arms.

The Second Amendment, I think, is second only to the first as the most abused and misinterpreted part of the Constitution. For instance, nobody ever mentions the phrase "a well regulated militia being essential," which explains a bit about the "right of the people to keep and bear arms."

This gives the government the right--actually, the responsibility--to regulate the use and ownership of weapons. The rest of the sentence establishes that "to keep and bear arms" is an intrinsic, inalienable right of the people; though gun owners can be regarded as a sort of militia (or potential militia), and thus regulations can be applied, gun ownership is a *right* and is NOT to be taken away.

Under the constitution, the government is allowed to regulate the use of weapons (meaning personal firearms), but not allowed to prevent the people from owning them.

We seem to have a problem balancing the two.