There is no doubt that the Gun Control Movement that has arisen in the wake of the Parkland School Murders has sent Republican Gun Extremists (and their fellow traveling Democratic NRA A+ supporters) into a frothing rabid rage. Paul Waldman of the Washington Post identifies two “Fake News” memes- a doctored picture of Emma González tearing up a copy of The Constitution (it was a Gun Target) and a false allegation that David Hogg was not on the Parkland Campus during the shooting (oh and he’s a Nazi too), and no less that 3 articles in The National Review– In Defense of ‘Gunsplaining’, David Hogg: Oracle, or Useful Idiot?, and editor Rich Lowry’s, The Teenage Demagogues as examples.
“It is practically forbidden in much of the media to dissent from anything they say,” Lowry says, claiming for the right the status of noble victims, brutally silenced by a system that forbids them to speak their opinions out loud.
But is that true? Tell me: What opinion on the subject of guns has been declared verboten in the current American debate, never to pass the lips of a conservative lest he be banished from the media forever? The idea that we should be arming teachers, or the ludicrously false claim that more guns leads to less crime, or the belief that military-style rifles are awesome, or the notion that we have no gun problem that can’t be solved by bringing more guns into more places? Which of the policy changes advocated by the Parkland students — a ban on those military-style weapons, raising the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21, expanded background checks — may no one “dissent” from? Because I hear conservatives making all of these arguments on TV, on the radio, and online every single day.
So what exactly is this cruel form of oppression that has been imposed on conservatives by the Parkland students and their media enablers?
Here’s the real difficulty the Parkland students present. It’s not that they’re passionate and surprisingly articulate for their age, though they are. It’s not that they’ve widened the conversation on guns by refusing to accept things the adults have taken as given for years, such as the idea that the NRA is simply too powerful to bother opposing, though they have. It’s that they’re too sympathetic. And when a spokesperson is sympathetic, when you attack them personally, you look like a jerk.
Despite what conservatives say, no one is going to criticize them when they disagree with the Parkland students on any substantive matter. If Rich Lowry argues that the students are wrong and goes on to explain why the minimum age to buy a rifle should remain at 18, no one will respond, “How dare you disagree with those lovely teenagers?”
No, what conservatives are really mad about is that the tactic of demonizing those they disagree with — which is so common in contemporary political rhetoric (on both the right and left) — has, in this case, been taken away from them.
You can say the Parkland kids are wrong, but calling them names, trying to dig into their personal lives to find something embarrassing, encouraging your audience to not simply think they’re mistaken but to hate them with all the venomous fire they can muster — that’s what some on the right wish they could do, but can’t, at least without looking like soulless ghouls. Certain conservatives have been complaining about this from the beginning. Less than a week after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Fox News host Tucker Carlson whined that the media were “using these kids in a kind of moral blackmail where you’re not allowed to disagree or you’re attacking a child.”
Hmm… In what other national argument did we hear the forces of Conservatism whine and complain that it was just too unfair to present the testimony of all those victims?
Could it be slavery?
The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.
These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly – done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated – we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas’ new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us.
I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way. Most of them would probably say to us, “Let us alone, do nothing to us, and say what you please about slavery.” But we do let them alone – have never disturbed them – so that, after all, it is what we say, which dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us of doing, until we cease saying.
Bigots, Racists, Misogynists, and Fascists not only insist you ignore their Bigoted, Racist, Misogynistic, and Fascist sentiments, they insist you applaud too.
One reason #MarchForOurLives is so effective is that it exposes their hypocrisy.