Theirs Is The Only Way
It's nearly the height of political incorrectness to question the male politicians or media personalities who boast of their experience with firearms or periodically tell us that they really, really do like sports. Still, it seemed like only common sense when Steve M. on Saturday wrote on his No More Mister Nice Guy blog
Me, I'm just tired of it. I'm tired of American politicians having to prove they're fit to hold office by shooting guns -- or demonstrating interest in any sporting activity they have a damn good reason not to care about.
I don't hunt. Why? Because I grew up in a large city (Boston) and live in another large city (New York). Barack Obama grew up mostly in Honolulu. He's lived since then in places such as New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Of course he doesn't spend a lot of time shooting.
Gun lovers want us to understand and respect their culture. Hey, why don't you guys try understanding and respecting ours? If you say we shouldn't have contempt for your enjoyment of hunting and target shooting, well, fine, I accept that -- but you need to drop the contempt for those of us who didn't grow up with those recreations, and never developed a fondness for them. It just wasn't part of our culture, and that's OK.
I hate that U.S. pols, in order to seem "down to earth" (which most of them aren't), have to feign an interest in hunting or NASCAR (yeah, I even felt sorry for Mitt Romney to some extent, although his NASCAR comments were an unforced error).
The New York Times, however, apparently doesn't see it the same way, as it invited former Representative John Dingell of Michigan and former Bush 41 Secretary of State James A. Baker III to offer up their bipartisan love of conventional wisdom. In their op-ed on Wednesday, they demand their views of gun control to be taken seriously because one is a liberal Midwestern Democrat and the other a conservative Southern Republican. But the real reason we must listen to them is because they
... share some beliefs. One is a strong love of guns and the outdoors and, just as important, a respect for both. Since we were boys, some of our best times have come with rifles or shotguns in our hands, especially when hunting with our fathers. Jim hunted ducks in the wetlands of southeast Texas and elk in the Rocky Mountains. John hunted small game along the banks of the Detroit River and Lake Erie. As adults, we have hunted together, using our common bond to bridge our differences.
They then boldly assert "any approach demands bipartisan support," remind us "commonsense should prevail," and beseech "each of us (to) look into our own hearts to consider what type of nation we want to have." And just when I was convinced that, with 60 votes needed to pass virtually anything in the U.S. Senate, Democrats will enact legislation with their 55 members; and that ill-informed emotion should prevail; and that I need to look into my heart to consider what type of nation Peru should have.
But though silly, the admonitions aren't the worse of it. Dingell/Baker conclude by scolding us:
... we think parents should spend less time leaving their children alone playing shoot-’em-up video games and more time with them doing activities they both enjoy. This includes taking children into the country to hunt and to gain, as we did as boys, a love for the abundance and beauty of nature as well as a respect for the responsible and legitimate use of guns.
There is little quite as satisfying as being lectured by Beltway pols about values.
If you want to take your children into the country to hunt, knock yourself out. If you like taking them to the local ball field to teach them to hit a curve ball, more power to you. If you choose to accompany them to an art or history museum, not a bad idea. And if you opt to do none of those, that is no more my business than it is of Dingell or Baker. And your children may somehow, miraculously, nevertheless gain a love for the abundance and beauty of nature and avoid the fate of Dylan Klebold, James Eagan Holmes, Gerald Laughner, or Adam Lanza.
Four years into the administration of Barack Hussein Obama of Chicago, Illinois and we're still told by avatars of the Establishment that only a love for hunting and nature is what stands between us and a nation of homocidal maniacs. And if you're from Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, or Phoenix, you just don't have the values of real Americans.