Can anyone remember what happened the last time a left-winger brought a loaded assault rifle to display in public within sight of a George W. Bush presidential event?
No, we can't, because college kids with backpacks sporting John Kerry stickers got thrown in jail for their menacing presence at Bush rallies. Anyone more threatening than that was already in lockdown days before the band struck up "Hail to Chief."
That was back in the good old days when conservative American gun enthusiasts felt "secure" about their "rights."
That was back when progressive Americans set the tone for national dissent.
Now that the right wing feels its "values" threatened by a lawfully elected progressive administration that is attempting to bring America up to the global standard in terms of sane foreign policy and morally right social services, and their heroes on Wall Street have left them to fester with rage in the dying church of new cars and new television sets, the true face of American fascism is emerging. Not very pretty is it?
It remains to be seen to what limits these armed and concerned citizens will test their supposedly threatened Constitutional freedoms, but I put my money on seeing more menace and outright violence as they come to terms with losing political power and the economy in the same year.
The First Amendment allows a level of verbal violence in public debate -- and perhaps the founding fathers meant that to include actual violence at health care reform forums these last weeks. And perhaps they intended that the Second Amendment would require local police (not to mention the Secret Service) in certain states to allow menacing men to carry loaded weapons in the vicinity of the American president.
It's only a matter of time before those guns are outside the doors of those health care debates.
Thank God we live in the U.S.A., folks!
Due to the vicissitudes of Facebook, I know a woman who, since Obama's election, and between diaper changes and trips to Walmart, has taken to heading out to the firing range to practice sharpshooting, just in case the progressives try to come to her house and take her stuff, as she's heard they will on the radio and Fox News. She invited me to "friend" a group calling itself "George Tiller is a Douchebag" -- two days after the doctor was shot to death in his own church.
She's not unusual. According to Facebook's helpful auto-tally, the group already had tens of thousands of "friends."
Guns are America's malaria, a sickness of the soul so deep we don't even recognize it for what it is anymore. If you want to go out in a bloody blaze of glory these days, you have to kill dozens of people at once to make the national front pages. Simply going postal and taking five or ten souls out with you just gets you on the local news.
If this were Africa, and people were faced with a spreading infection that has so menaced the health and stability of the nation, Doctors without Borders and other NGOs would be rushing in to help, and Tom Brokaw would be headlining fundraisers for them at the Waldorf. Where is the Bill Gates Foundation that is ready to step in and buy America the inoculations it needs to ward off this malady?
Follow Nina Burleigh on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ninaburleigh