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Hullabaloo


Thursday, March 27, 2014

 
It happens every (other) spring

by digby

... when a conservative middle aged guy's fancy turns to shooting something up in a campaign video. Here's the first of the season:


We’re down here to have a little fun today and talk about two serious subjects: the Second Amendment and see how much damage we can do to this copy of Obamacare,” Will Brooke, a congressional candidate running in the GOP primary for Alabama’s 6th district says in a new video posted Wednesday to YouTube.

I guess that's the 2014 GOP message in a nut-shell. Or rather in a spent-shell.

This imagery is a staple of right wing electioneering. Why, even conservative Democrats employ it from time to time:


Now I'm sure that these politicians consider all this gun play just metaphorical good fun. After all, they aren't threatening to kill people. (Well, only in the most abstract sense --- by denying them health care and burning up the planet.) But the fact is that people who use guns to make a political point are being threatening whether they know it or not.

Our democracy depends upon having a debate amongst a variety  of citizens who feel passionately about many different issues. And humans tend to get a bit overwrought at times about things they care about. When you introduce guns into it --- regardless of how much "fun" you're having with it --- you introduce a subliminal threat. I feel quite confident that those conservative, middle aged, white guys using those guns know quite well that they're doing more than just announcing their hostility to health care reform or cap and trade legislation. They're illustrating hostility to the people who support those things. And they're using guns to do it.

I don't care how much the gun people insist that carrying their firearms to political events or using them to illustrate their opposition to particular legislation is all in good fun. It isn't. It's a form of intimidation. And for all their paeans to freedom and liberty, it's fundamentally antithetical to our constitutional system to use threats, however indirect, to influence democratic debate. In fact, it's the opposite of freedom.


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