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God bless Wayne LaPierre -- no one has worked as tirelessly to underscore the utter absurdity and paranoid delusions of the NRA's assault on all rational efforts to regulate guns better than Wacko Wayno. I mean, you really have to hand it to a guy who can make someone at Fox News step back and say "Whoah, this dude's seriously nuts...." Yeah: Think about it -- when has anyone at Fox News ever been able to recognize bat-shit crazy? But wait: What's the deeper message here? Are the cultural fault lines shifting? Could there be better proof of that possibility than the appearance of small cracks in the foundation at Fox News?

God bless Wayne LaPierre -- no one has worked as tirelessly to underscore the utter absurdity and paranoid delusions of the NRA's assault on all rational efforts to regulate guns better than Wacko Wayno. I mean, you really have to hand it to a guy who can make someone at Fox News step back and say "Whoah, this dude's seriously nuts...." Yeah: Think about it -- when has anyone at Fox News ever been able to recognize bat-shit crazy? But wait: What's the deeper message here? Are the cultural fault lines shifting? Could there be better proof of that possibility than the appearance of small cracks in the foundation at Fox News?

In a commentary published in the January/February 2013 issue of OutServe Magazine ( I wrote an analysis about how the LGBT community proved itself to be a significant power broker in the November 2012 election, suggesting also that the LGBT community will in a very positive sense influence the future, not only for themselves but also for the benefit of many millions of other Americans.

In that piece I wrote, “Election results suggest America is experiencing a profound cultural and political resurgence of more tolerant public speech, policies, practices and legislation toward gays, women, racial minorities, and the economically and educationally disadvantaged after a four-decade long freefall to the contrary. Put another way, the election results are a win for cultural and political liberalism, as well as justice and common sense.”

What I didn’t include in that article because it wasn’t pertinent to the discussion about the past and future of gender equality per se was that it’s quite feasible that the most profound cultural and political battle looming in the United States right now is actually about gun control. The very fact that the battle is being so fiercely fought is due to America’s shift to the left and it is because of this shift that I’m fairly certain sanity will win out. In my article about gay rights, I also used Winston Churchill’s famous line that “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” If Churchill’s quip made sense in a review of the 2012 election, then it makes even more sense in light of America’s battle to regulate guns and gun owners.

Major historical events never arise de novo out of the mists of time. They all have both remote and proximate causes that give them breath and then muscle. In America, we can almost measure the success of our efforts to go in one direction over another by the virulence of opposition to such movement. Let’s just say that the Devil always knows when he’s losing and he doesn’t like it.

The NRA has grown more extremist over time. There was a day when it largely concerned itself with public education about gun safety and responsible usage. No more. Over the last thirty years it has devolved into a dysfunctional organization driven by dystopian fantasies. What is interesting, and could serve as a great research subject for social scientists, is how the arc of the NRA’s increase in extremism and descent into madness so totally parallels what has happened to the Republican Party.

We can locate the remote causes of both the rise and fall (yes, we are seeing the fall) of the NRA in the warp and woof of American culture and such things incubate over time. However, what always ignites any great issue in historical time is a sudden spark, a proximate action, that creates a conflagration. For us, at this time, relative to gun control, we have Sandy Hook.

If location is everything in real estate, timing is everything in history. The tragedy of Sandy Hook came shortly after moderate forces of political reason re-elected Barack Obama. This time around he wasn’t elected in a joyous almost childish belief in Hope and Dreams, but by a more sober evaluation of reality. I would posit a guess that few Americans voted for Obama because they continued to believe he was the man they thought he was in 2008. Rather, I would suggest Obama was elected because when measured against the alternative, voters understood he was most certainly the only rational choice. Frankly, I call this political wisdom borne of maturity.

The point is that this same electorate is clearly in the ascendancy and times they are a changin'...

When I analyze cultural shifts I study many things and this past election has been an incredible study in America’s shift toward moderation, if not full tilt left. Whether Fox News is waking up to the fact that a cultural tsunami is just over the horizon and it doesn’t want to be unanchored, adrift, and lost at sea – or whether such a change is less corporate and more a representation that there is a genuine sea change in the belief systems of some of its people is yet to be seen. I tend to suspect, however, it’s the latter and not the former.

On Sunday, February 3rd, Chris Wallace of Fox News interviewed the NRA’s LaPierre. In the face of LaPierre’s absurd position that all American school children share an equivalent need, and have the same right, as the Obama girls’ have for Secret Service protection, Wallace allowed his own good sense to emerge and bluntly told LaPierre he was being “ridiculous.”

At first blush, “ridiculous” seems benign (I would prefer some other terminology) when listening to the mad rants of Wacko Wayno, but we must remember that Wallace works for Fox News – an organization that not only stomachs a lot of bullshit but also knows exactly how to produce it. No nonsense has ever been too absurd for Fox to shill.

Until now.

If a far-right propaganda machine like Fox News begins to back pedal away from the lunatic fringe – and Wayne LaPierre is certainly the poster child for the lunatic fringe – then I think this time around the gun nuts are the ones who are going to learn what it means when someone else is holding all the heavy ammo.

This time around I think it’s the NRA’s bullshit that’s clearly in the cross hairs -- or so one hopes.

Originally posted to Maureen McDermott Gill on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 11:03 AM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Shift? (5+ / 0-)
    ...America’s shift to the left....
    I disagree.  America has shifted to the right so far that 40 years ago Obama's policies would have been mainstream Republican.  Even Nixon was more liberal than Obama.  The present shift is a slight bounce off the farthest of the right.

    I agree with everything else you wrote.  The NRA supporters have their tin foil hats too tight.

    •  Shift to the left (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, marykk, dsteffen

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, America has shifted steadily right for over 40 yrs. That is absolutely true. But what we're seeing now is a major corrective to that shift; it was very pronounced in the last 2 presidential elections and I'd argue the midterm '10 election was a fluke, a dying gasp.

      All times have their cycles and in the rapid pace of modern history a 40-yr run is rather long. I think the change that's coming is profound. Look at the demographics that are now emerging in the younger vote and of course the unification of the LGBT community that is now showing some muscle. Read my article in OutServe mag; I go into more detail there than here on this blog entry. I think it chronicles these changes well there.

      This is not to say (I never would anyway) that the battle is over; not likely. We've gone so far right that it will take time to flow more centrist but I predict it will happen and in fact is happening.

      You're right about Obama; he's a moderate progressive much like Eisenhower. The Democrats like LBJ and Humphrey and McGovern wouldn't believe he calls himself s Democrat but he does and surely he is because he is also most definitely not a Republican.

      Anyway, this is my analysis as I see it as a historian of modern U.S. history.

      Thanks again for reading my post and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it. ~m.

  •  Thank you... (5+ / 0-)

    A very well written piece and excellent analysis.
    You have an impressive and distinctive writing style.
    I look forward to more.

    All sane people detest noise. Mark Twain

    by Man Oh Man on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 11:38:47 AM PST

  •  I think the signs bear this out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, dsteffen

    But, it's very important that people are still out there talking to people on the issues. We're at a tipping point.

    Using my free speech while I still have it.

    by ebgill on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:00:25 PM PST

  •  Good article (4+ / 0-)

    We never see movement at the time it's occurring.  You look around one day and things have changed -- for the better or the worse.  But your interpretation is as good as any.  I hope you're right.  I certainly agree that the overall sense in the nation is much more centrist than it was during the height of the bush-cheney years.  

    It seems many Americans are just sick and tired of the extreme right and their lunatic and hateful spokespeople, like Wayne LaPierre and so many of the pro-Rape Republicans who ran last year, using the threat of rape against women to try to terrify them and get votes.  People are just sick of being terrorized by our own politicians.  

    Sometimes what happens is that it slowly builds, nobody notices, then it is at a crisis point, where it could radically change.  I hope we're there now.  

    Change the laws, then hope some of the extreme right-wingers on the Supreme Court take a hike and we can get some new judges in place who will confirm that the 2nd amendment only governs a state militia created for the purpose of protecting the state, and it has nothing to do with any individual right to own or carry a weapon.  

    That doesn't mean there is no individual right.  It just means that such right is subject to reasonable health and safety regulations.  That would be a big win.  

  •  It's an ill wind (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KelleyRN2, dsteffen

    that doesn't blow somebody a little good.  Perhaps the side of righteousness could just this once be that somebody.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 03:41:21 PM PST

  •  What an insightful post! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Well done.

  •  The LGTB will lead us in a new era of progress? (0+ / 0-)

    The author is inspired. Why these LGBT people are just super. Unlike other humans they are not motivated by fear, prejudice, hatred or fear. The LGBT will lead us to a new era of harmony, peace and altruism. Many years ago i read that the mistake of Marx made  was in believing peasants would be any less cruel than their masters.

    I am sorry. LGBT people are human. Like hetero white males, that most reviled group, like heteros of every hue, humans are flawed. The struggle between altruism and greed is eternal.

    •  New era of progress? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wonton Tom

      Hey markmagas; thanks for the comment but I'm left to wonder if you meant to post it elsewhere because it doesn't fit my article. I never wrote here or anywhere else that I believe any demographic group holds a monopoly on either perfection or imperfection.

      My article simply looked at a cultural shift. In my OutServe article (OK, THAT'S probably the article you are referencing), I zeroed in on the role the LGBT community played in the election and suggested that it would inure to the benefit of specific groups. I stand behind that comment. I never spoke in terms of human character traits or human morality, only about shifting cultural sands and their consequences.

      I most definitely agree with you that humans are flawed and that we can find many verities in the human condition. I disagree however that hetero white males are reviled -- and you can take them from a hetero white female who is sort of partial to you dudes. :)

      However, I think you just sometimes feel the pinch of having to share your space at the table with so many new and hungry others -- but I would never say you should not be seated there with all of us!

      I appreciate that you took the time to comment but wanted to clarify what it is I actually wrote.

      Thanks for your time; I appreciate it and hope you will continue to read my stuff and give me a kick in the butt when I need it -- just remember, I'm allowed to return the kick!  


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