"Anyone who has thought about it realizes that liberty and equality are antithetical concepts ... Equality is biologically impossible, and liberty is only obtainable in homogeneous populations very thinly spread." - Former NRA Board Member (and ardent insurrectionist) Jeff Cooper
Last week, the National Rifle Association (NRA) launched its "Trigger the Vote" campaign, a superficially non-partisan get-out-the vote effort. The ad campaign features two men who sit on the organization's Board of Directors: aging hard-rocker Ted Nugent and actor R. Lee Ermey of "Full Metal Jacket" fame; and NRA celebrity spokesman and martial artist/actor Chuck Norris. Both Norris and Nugent have publicly endorsed Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential elections (Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, respectively).
There's nothing more American than a voter registration campaign. "Trigger the Vote," however, is marred by the violent and insurrectionist rhetoric its three spokespersons have trumpeted since the election of Democratic President Barack Obama in 2008. The process of voting as a catalyst for peaceful change in public policy is sacrosanct to how our representative democracy operates. Ermey, Nugent and Norris have all made statements contrary to these ideals, however, going so far as to suggest that if ballots don't work, bullets will. They have also made it clear that their political tent is only open to certain Americans, and that others should stay clear.
Chuck Norris: In a March 2009 op-ed for WorldNetDaily, Norris wrote, "On Glenn Beck's radio show last week, I quipped in response to our wayward federal government, 'I may run for president of Texas.' That need may be a reality sooner than we think. If not me, someone someday may again be running for president of the Lone Star state, if the state of the union continues to turn into the enemy of the state ... How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?"
Another "solution" that Norris offered to Fox Host Sean Hannity is to "choke out all the Democrats" in Washington. When Hannity told him, "You have more control than that," Norris responded, "I don't, I don't. That's the problem. I have a thin skin ... And believe me, in the political world I'd be killing half the people." In a 2008 interview with televangelist Pat Robertson, Norris said, "I would go to Washington, and I would line up every member of Washington. Then I'd have [Republican Congressman and presidential candidate] Ron Paul, who I believe is one of the more honest politicians back there, I'd say, 'Ron, point out the honest politicians and the dishonest ones.' And we'd go down the line. He'd say, 'He's honest, he's honest, he's corrupted.' I'd walk up to him and I'd say, 'You're fired.' If he didn't move immediately, I would choke him unconscious and roll him over to the side there."
Ted Nugent: Nugent has made so many threatening comments about public officials that it's impossible to list them all. Here is a sampling:
• On August 27, 2011, Nugent used a rock concert in Peoria as a platform to tell his fans to violently overthrow the Illinois state government.
• On July 25, 2011, Nugent warned, "Over my dead body will I let this current regime continue in their abuse of power."
• In a July 21, 2011 interview, Nugent said the following about President Obama: "Here is a man raised by avowed communist/socialist, America-hating parents; surrounded by avowed socialist/communist America-hating terrorists like Bill Ayers; attending an America-hating church; being preached to and married by a vicious, America-hating maniac; implementing proven economy- and America-destroying fundamental transformation policies; promising to cause our energy costs to skyrocket; and following the [Richard] Cloward/[Frances] Piven playbook on how to take down America. I'll tell you what I think of people like the president. I am convinced he is the enemy of America, the enemy of freedom and the enemy of our Constitution. He is a bad, evil, rotten human being."
• During a July 5, 2011 interview, Nugent said, "It's almost like 1776 again. We have the enemies of America in charge."
• In a June 30, 2011 op-ed, Nugent wrote, "On this Independence Day, sit down with your children, loved ones, friends, neighbors and co-workers and read the Declaration of Independence and discuss it. Get them to commit to a new uprising in which our King George politicians are dethroned and run out of Washington. Be a patriot and save America."
• In a May 2011 appearance on CNN, Nugent warned those politicians who disagree with him, "We're going to vote you out of office or suck on my machine gun."
• Just five days after the January 8, 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona (which left six dead and thirteen wounded, including Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords), Nugent authored a Washington Times op-ed stating, "I say conservatives should turn up the rhetoric ... Political debate has always been spirited, hot and sometimes nasty ... In order to defeat liberals on the political-ideology battlefield, conservatives must be clear in purpose and then get after it by targeting (yes, I said targeting) and attacking Democratic nostrums that have weakened America."
• In a July 1, 2010 op-ed about Supreme Court Justices who favor firearms regulation, Nugent wrote, "Heads up, black-robers. I am in charge of my life, survival, thoughts, statements, writings, religious practices and, without a shadow of a doubt, my God-given individual right to keep and bear arms to defend myself from evil in any shape or form. With all due respect, I see and know clear and present evil in tyranny, dictatorships, emperors, kings, despots, slave drivers and the history of abuse of power. And I defy it out of hand."
• During a March 2010 interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto, Nugent condemned supporters of health care reform and stated, "They're pigs, Neil. We gotta' kill the pig." When Cavuto asked Nugent if he was speaking humorously, he responded "not really."
Nugent, too, has serious issues with political equality. He has stated that "the real message of the left is intolerance, zealotry, bigotry and hate" while making blatantly racist statements himself like, "Apartheid isn't that cut and dry. All men are not created equal. The preponderance of South Africa is a different breed of man ... They still put bones in their noses, they still walk around naked, they wipe their butts with their hands ...These are different people. You give 'em toothpaste, they f***ing eat it." On the topic of sexual violence against women, he said, "Anybody that doesn't think it is better to blow someone's brains out than to be raped, deserves to be raped. If you don't think your life is worth it, then please go out there, don't wear any underpants, and get raped, 'cause you deserve it."
R. Lee Ermey: At a "Toys for Tots" fundraiser held in December 2010, Ermey delivered a fiery speech, telling those in attendance, "We're having a big problem this year. The economy really sucks. Now I hate to point fingers at anybody, but the present administration probably has a lot to do with that. And the way I see it they're not going to quit doing it until they bring this country to its knees. So I think we should rise all rise up and we should stop his administration from what they are doing because they are destroying this country. They're driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us." These comments generated so much public attention and outrage that Ermey was forced to apologize.
The Obama administration isn't Ermey's only target. Prior to the repeal of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, he told Marine Corps Times, "Now all of a sudden, this illustrious leader of America decided he wants to put openly gay people in the military. But where are they going to live and take showers, and which bathrooms are they going to use? I liken it to putting me in the woman Marine barracks. I would have a great time, but I don't think they would like it very much. If I'm taking a shower in an open shower bay, the last thing I want is some guy looking at me having sexual fantasies." So much for inclusive democracy...
It might seem shocking to see anti-government extremists heading a voter drive, but the NRA is the organization that stridently declared "the guys with the guns make the rules." Not exactly a democratic mantra... The distaste the NRA and its leaders have for our democratic institutions is, at this point, palpable.
If this year's "Trigger the Vote" campaign ads are anything like years past (such as this one where an NRA supporter responds to the question, "What are you gonna do when they come take away your gun, huh?" by screaming "I'll tell those son of a bitches to get off my property, I'll kick the **** out of them, they'll have to pry it from my cold dead hands."), we should look forward to more mixed messages about civic responsibility on the one hand, and on the other, pure thuggery.
This is the sixth in a series of articles I have written profiling the rogues gallery that makes up the leadership of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Learn more at www.MeetTheNRA.org.