I’ve avoided the debate up until now, but I figure it’s probably time to say something.Â I haven’t had too much liking for the pejorative, but I obviously have sympathies to the argument that lies behind it, which is that it’s not accomplishing much if you don’t develop a serious, well thought out strategy for promoting you particular view of what the Second Amendment means.Â Kevin Baker says, in the comments over at Uncle’s:
Well, from what Iâ€™ve read voting is useless, the courts are useless, and anything other than â€œSNBI!!!!â€ is for pussies in public discussion, so trying to convince the (reachable) General Public with anything other than â€œSNBI!!â€ is useless. Final arbiters abound.
The only useful thing seems to be Physical Training, militia drills, and collecting ammunition, MREs and barter goods for â€œthe Time.â€
Iâ€™m sorry if that sounds harsh, but that is the way it appears.
I don’t think it’s harsh.Â Either politics is still a worthwhile endeavor, or we’re hopelessly off the rails and it’s time to start a revolution.Â You don’t get to sit on the sidelines and claim “Oh, but we’re preparing for revolution, and the rest of you guys are just a bunch of cheese dicks.”
I won’t claim to know for certain that the political process will end up exactly where we want it, but it’s a far better path forward than preparing for revolution, and writing off the process that could avoid it having to come to that.Â The outcome of the political struggle is most decidedly uncertain, but it is far less uncertain than revolution.
And for those who claim they aren’t writing off the political process, then what are you doing to influence it?Â What anti-gun legislators have you identified, and are working toward defeating?Â Are you supporting pro-gun candidates for public office?Â From a lot of the hard core folks, I have to admit, I see a lot of bitching and moaning, but precious little action.
I took up the role as a volunteer in my district because my Congressman signed on to McCarthy’s assault weapons ban.Â That was enough for me to put aside whatever differences I had with the Republican Party and sign up to help defeat him, or at least make him pay attention to gun owners concerns, and treat them seriously. I don’t care if the guy running against my congress critter isn’t a perfect picture of shall not be infringed, as long as he’s an improvement.Â The message to politicians is, “Poke the bear, and he’ll bite you.”Â Sometimes that’s all it takes.
I understand the desire not to compromise one’s beliefs. I wasn’t involved through much of my 20s because of the mind sickness that the absolute righteousness of the Libertarian movement infects people with.Â No compromise, no way.Â Except that compromise is what politics is about.Â Almost every interest is a minority interest.Â Take any issue, and you will have a hard time finding a majority, but you can often find a majority in coalition with other issues.
My challenge to the hard liners isn’t necessarily to stop being hard liners.Â I think that can provide a useful vehicle for getting people who are currently disaffected back into the being active in the movement.Â But what is the next step after getting them interested?Â After making them realize that there are others out there who think as they do?Â Is it to make them more angry?Â To convince them that it really is just all hopeless, and they better start digging out the machine gun nests now?
Or is it to get involved?Â Some of the more hard liners are legitimately trying to go this route, and that’s positive.Â We may not always agree on candidates, we may not always agree on methods of participation, but we can agree on some things, and that’s often enough.Â I can work with someone who can’t vote for McCain, but who might be willing to point out to other gun owners that Obama would essentially ban guns in the United States.Â I wouldn’t suggest to both sides “Can’t we all just get along?”Â Because the answer, if we’re really honest, is no.Â But there’s no reason we can’t work together on common goals when our political interests align, which probably happens more often than it doesn’t.Â The real question is, what are we all willing to work toward?Â More anger, or more political progress?Â November is fast approaching.