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Parsing the Nugentrification of America

05/01/2012 04:18 pm ET | Updated Jun 27, 2012

Now that the whole Ted Nugent thing has become history, it's time to parse what it really meant. Without even discussing the alleged story that Nugent urinated on his jeans for a week before taking (and failing) his draft physical for Vietnam (what a "patriot"), one needs to deconstruct his rhetoric at the NRA convention since it really encapsulates what one can call the Nugentrification of America. Besides endorsing Mitt Romney for President and besides Mitt Romney not distancing himself from Nugent's comments since if one is devoted to Joseph Smith it wouldn't be beyond Romney to do that.

But there were key words and phrases that Nugent used that were patently clear. For example, President Obama is "vile" and "evil," the members of the Supreme Court "don't believe in the Constitution" and voters should "ride into that battlefield and chop [Democrat's] heads off in November." More specifically, he said Obama was the head of a "vile, evil America-hating administration" which is "wiping its ass with the Constitution." Perspicacious as Nugent is, Nugent knew the etymology of the word "vile" as coming from Anglo-Norman and Old French (also modern French) vil (masculine), vile (feminine) (= Provençal vil, Spanish vil, Portuguese vil, Italian vile) Latin vīlem, vīlis of low value or price, cheap, common, mean, base... none of which could ever apply to himself.

As for the Supreme Court "wiping its ass with the Constitution," Nugent went further by saying, "We've got four Supreme Court justices who don't believe in the Constitution," said Nugent. "Does everyone here know that four of the Supreme Court justices not only determined you don't have the right to keep and bear arms, four Supreme Court justices signed their name to a declaration that Americans have no fundamental right to self-defense." Of course, one doesn't really need to be able to count to ten to realize which four he's talking about. Being a Constitutional scholar, Nugent is fully capable of counting to four though I'm still trying to find the document he alludes to.

Nugent concluded his diatribe by alluding to "Patriots" and "Bravehearts," both allusions I found insightful for a couple of reasons. Not only are they films made and/or starring Mel Gibson (whose alleged ethnic diatribes we don't need to go into), but these are films based on wars that have nothing to do with the United States as we know it. The former alludes to the Revolutionary War which (to bring Nugent up to date) pitted the United States against Britain. Not unlike Nugent's egregious rhetoric, the film was sullied by historical inaccuracies, the most notable one being the triumph of Gibson's troops over the British when, in fact, we lost. The allusion to Braveheart is even more absurd in that it dealt with the 14th-century battles between the Scots and the British. These were colonial wars and insurrections, only one of which has anything to do with the United States, but perhaps Nugent has lost sight of that. What's most interesting is that Nugent is clear about who the "patriots" are and who the "enemy" is. In a way, it would seem that he's really in favor of another Civil War in which slavery isn't the issue, just a disagreement over public policy. Failing a new Civil War (in which Nugent wouldn't fight in either), he issues his charges to decapitate those politicians with whom he disagrees. "We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November. Any questions?" Recalling Eldridge Cleaver's words, "If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem." Not only is Nugent part of the problem, but his facile rhetoric doesn't solve any issue, but merely attempts to divide.

Of course, we know that Nugent's rhetoric is merely hypocritical as evinced by his post-Secret Service agent meeting in which he said, "[It was a] good, solid, professional meeting concluding that I have never made any threats of violence towards anyone. The meeting could not have gone better. I thanked them for their service, we shook hands and went about our business. God bless the good federal agents wherever they may be." This statement from the same guy who wants Federal things like the FBI, the FDA, the FAA ad astra out of his life. He does tend to remind one of the bully on the playground who, when he meets someone tougher, suddenly cowers. But, clearly, his "patriotic" sentiments aren't isolated and his thoughts, deeply ignorant as they may, be reflect an enormous constituency that is not necessarily keen on democracy.

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