Lord knows, I’m not a big fan of the Democrats. They’re every bit as much bought-and-paid-for as their opponents across the aisle. Their continual failure to fight as if they actually mean it for green solutions, women’s rights, sane gun laws, and other measures to benefit We the People drives me up a wall, and leads to despair. But one positive thing I’ll say about the donkeys is that they’re not purveyors of violence.
Ted Cruz can stand in front of a microphone at an NRA convention three days after a school shooting and blather on about increased mental health awareness (though his state has cut funding for mental health care), about arming teachers, about hardening schools, and….nothing. Those who disagree will rant and write op-eds and possibly even gather with signs, but Cruz will not have a target on his back. He can praise and uphold gun fetishism to the skies, all the while knowing that, not only can no one shoot him at the convention, because guns are banned there, but no Dem will threaten him with gun violence later. They’re just not wired that way, overall. Of course, one guy did go off the rails over the Supreme Court’s pending strike-down of Roe v. Wade, and take a gun to stand in front of Brett Kavanaugh’s house, but he thought better of it and called 911 on himself, then waited for the police to arrive. So, one half-baked attempt on one person versus multiple mass shootings in the last few weeks, perpetrated by extremists stoked by right-wing hysteria.
And it will get worse. Conservative, Republican-appointed Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, just handed down a Supreme Court decision declaring New York’s fairly restrictive gun laws to be unconstitutional. In effect, states will lose their rights to enact their own laws about permits, open/concealed carry, and types of guns that can be purchased. The GOP is ecstatic.
The gun culture is becoming ever more ingrained in the Republican party. An Ohio GOP candidate for Congress recently ran an ad (since taken down, but not for content issues) showing various Dem leaders, then the candidate, J. R. Majewski, brandishing a rifle and promising to, “do whatever it takes,” to return the country to its former glory. Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters made a social media post of himself toting a hand-crafted gun, with a promise to show Congress what, “shall not be infringed,” means. Back as far as 2010, Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle commented about using “Second Amendment remedies” against her competitor, Harry Reid. And of course, last Christmas was an occasion for GOP officials to show off their collections of weapons, amid family gatherings. Congressman Thomas Massie released his card just days after a Michigan school shooting, and Congresswoman Lauren Boebert followed shortly thereafter. A February Twitter post from the Congresswoman shows her with a favorite semi-automatic sidearm strapped to her thigh, with the caption, “Come and take it.”
I think it’s reasonable to state that this determination to dispense with gun laws resides solely in the Republican party. Some Dems may own guns, but they’re not going all-out to re-create the wild West in modern times. A broader issue intertwined with guns is that the GOP is becoming more aligned with, more embracing of, illegal militias and paramilitaries. TFG notably called upon the Proud Boys to, “Stand back and stand by,” and we’ve seen the videos of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers leading the way into the Capitol on January 6, 2021. We’ve heard that they had guns stashed around the city in anticipation of TFG’s instituting martial law. Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers just testified before the January 6th Committee that men who attempted to intimidate him, his family, and his neighbors in the lead-up to the coup attempt were armed and were wearing the emblem of the Three Percenters.
If there’s one characteristic that separates the two major political parties in this country, it’s the elevation of guns to holy stature, corresponding with the use of violence as a first resort. As ineffectual as they may be — and they undeniably are — the Dems don’t periodically call for Second Amendment remedies or DINO hunting permits. They don’t engage in, “lock them up!” chants. They don’t make friends with militia leaders or urge armed followers to patrol voting venues. No Dem faction is going to plan a kidnap attempt on a Republican governor because he/she implements pandemic protocols or any other procedures to keep citizens safe. Which means that the GOP can say anything they want, commit any violation, mount an insurrection, and the consequences will be an appeal to law. One party will burn it all down for the sake of specious “freedom,” and the other party will dither and make disapproving noises and stage doomed-to-fail votes. The immediate danger to the U.S. population is the guns and violence of the GOP. But the supine character of the Dems isn’t a remedy. Far from it. Ted may not have to worry, nor the rest of his ilk, but the rest of us are reduced to duck and cover.