Saturday, August 22, 2009
The Flaw in the Opinion
I do have a passing familiarity with the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the United States Constitution and so I'll take a brief shot at Sirota's piece today in the Denver Post, which you can read here.
Sirota decries people exercising their 2nd Amendment rights outside townhall meetings and, like many on the left, plays the race card early and wrongly:
The gun has been transformed from a sport and self-defense device into a tool of mass bullying. Like the noose in the Jim Crow South, its symbolic message is clear: If you dare engage in the democratic process, you risk bodily harm.
Well, the right to keep and bear arms was never limited to sport and self-defense. As the 2nd Amendment itself makes clear, the primary purpose is to arm the citizens who make up the militia, the preferred federal military outfit. There was also a little keeping the government in its place (i.e. fearful of an armed uprising) in the framers' minds as well. But the real blindness displayed by Mr. Sirota in that paragraph is his idea that the people bringing guns to the townhalls are doing so to intimidate the democratic process. I think they are foolish to carry guns there openly--it is too strong a symbolic display; but I don't think their primary purpose is to bully or intimidate--that's what the union thugs are there for. And since the only assault weapon (an AR-15) evident so far was carried by a black man, I'm pretty sure the "noose" of "Jim Crow" allusion was not justified.
But here is the central locus of lunacy, just after the first, obligatory mention of Nazi Germany:
While the First Amendment doesn't ensure credibility or significance, it is supposed to guarantee freedom from fear — a freedom that is now under siege. Citing the Second Amendment and the increasingly maniacal rhetoric of conservative media firebrands, a small handful of violence-threatening protesters aims to make the rest of us — whether pro- or anti-health-reform — afraid to speak out.The 1st Amendment merely protects public speakers and those associating with fellow citizens from government harassment. Just as it won't ensure that people believe you or think you're deep, it won't ensure that you will be persuasive or popular for your expressed views. Whatever 'freedom from fear' there is in the 1st Amendment is governocentric--the federal police won't arrest you for voicing opinion or peacefully assembling; but it is no guarantee that the common person won't disagree with you and certainly no guarantee that you can say anything you like with no repercussions of any kind, like people yelling 'you're wrong' or 'you're an idiot' or worse yet, ignoring you entirely.
In a mote/beam/eye episode, Sirota claims that the rhetoric of conservative media firebrands is ever more maniacal but he conveniently fails to mention the fear inducing rhetoric of the left over the past 40 years. As a solution, Sirota proposes making the townhalls firearm free zones, like schools and stadiums, because we all know how effective the firearm free zones in schools have proved to prospective mass murderers.
This is typical lefty so called thinking--to protect a right that doesn't exist (freedom from fear) he proposes infringing on the actual right to keep and bear arms right there in the amendments to the Constitution.
For Sirota, and his ilk, to fly a Virginia State flag near a town hall would chill their fantasy 1st Amendment right to be free from fear, what with that flag's threatening Latin motto: Sic Semper Tyrannis, even though the threat therein is towards the government and not to fellow citizens peacefully assembling, speaking and seeking redress of grievances.
You really have to wonder what amount of education could have made an ordinary guy like Sirota so foolish.