By now we should all be fairly familiar with how certain media stories emerge onto various networks and into the public sphere. Someone says something really stupid. Media outlets pounce on the statement and quote it or replay it ad infinitum. Pundits (present company included) ‘appear’ on various networks and talk with news hosts or reporters about all of the reasons why the person in question should apologize, and to whom said person should apologize.
Maybe Nugent-gate is slightly different, but for the most part, his recent comments about “be(ing) dead or in jail by this time next year” if President Obama is re-elected, have followed this three-step process. In fact, even as I write this, I am preparing to appear on MSNBC to speak about Mr. Nugent’s comments.
Although we may tire of the “how-to-handle-stupid-comments-in-the-public-sphere” process, Mr. Nugent’s comments are distinguishable; not necessarily by what he has said, but more so by the timing of the comments and, I might add, the asymmetry in apologetic responses by those on the right versus those on the left.
For example, when Hilary Rosen challenged Ann Romney’s labor bona fides, every spokesperson in the Obama camp (including the VP) immediately denounced and distanced themselves from Rosen’s comments. Many others on the left essentially apologized to all working mom’s and all stay-at-home moms — and rightly so.
But when Mr. Nugent exhorts NRA conference-goers to get their Braveheart on, or when he suggests that either suicide or an assassination plot are the only appropriate responses to President Obama’s re-election, we don’t ever get those kind of earnest mea culpas on the right — the kind of sincere apologetic responses that we have now become quite used to hearing from the left.
Senator Jim Inhofe doesn’t see anything wrong with Nugent’s comments and can’t believe how anyone could perceive his comments as a threat to the president.
Glen Beck couldn’t wait to have Nugent on — not to apologize, but to give him an opportunity to double-down on his comments — again. Is that considered a triple-down?
Now maybe it’s a stretch to consider Ted Nugent as a surrogate for the Romney campaign — maybe. But certainly, he spoke to, and speaks for, the National Rifle Association. The NRA isn’t exactly a political party, but it does have much sway in our political and public lives.
Although folk may have already forgotten, it was the NRA that lobbied for the “Stand Your Ground” laws that have infected over 30 states; in some of these states, the number of “justifiable” homicides has doubled or tripled.
In the very moment where the murder of an innocent teenager places a spotlight on the slippery notions of fear, threat, racial profiling, justifiable lethal force and too many sufficiently questionable additional cases to recount here, the NRA not only holds a conference touting the right to bear arms, it also provides a platform for Nugent to exhort those gun-toting denizens of the NRA to the most historically valid form of justifiable violence — violent revolution.But before Mr. Nugent’s followers and those of their ilk take up arms against the “Communist” factions in our government, before they kill themselves, or collude with . Nugent to threaten our president, let them consider for a moment that the president is not their enemy. And for that matter, the former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is not their enemy.
Not once has this president, or any democratic leader in recent memory, mentioned gun control or in any way encroached upon anyone’s right to bear arms. In fact, since the election of President Obama, gun sales have been quite robust.
WATCH NBC NIGHTLY NEWS COVERAGE OF THE NUGENT STORY:
The NRA’s real enemy is, well, the NRA. If Ted Nugent represents the mentality of the typical NRA member, or of one of its chosen spokespersons, if he speaks for the NRA, then that association must apologize immediately.
His comments reflect a willful ignorance about the society in which we live and a dangerous impulse to exhort people to violence. The Second Amendment was never intended to protect people’s right to be violent or to use lethal force in some subjective way.
In fact the Second Amendment was intended to protect people’s rights to protect themselves. Killing yourself, assassinating the president, and/or killing unarmed innocent children simply is not a part of the letter or spirit of the Second Amendment.
If Nugent and the NRA really wanted to serve this country in the patriotic spirit with which they brandish their guns and augur access to, and legal use of, lethal weaponry, they would actually advocate for more robust screenings, more access to gun safety training, and appropriate bans on the kinds of assault weapons that are always used in the school shootings/massacres which are so common now that they don’t even warrant as much media attention as Nugent’s offensive comments.