From time to time, the conservative community gets up in arms when a liberal says or does something stupid and/or vicious. Part of the process is attacking the rest of the left for failing to call out their own. Silence is consent, as the saying goes. In the interest of fairness, objectivity and not being hypocrites ourselves, conservatives should call out people on the right who say and do stupid and vicious things. Such was the case with Ted Nugent last week.
Appearing on Alex Jones’ show (his first mistake), Nugent compared liberals to “rabid coyotes” and said that they need to be shot on sight.
“Just know that evil, dishonesty, and scam artists have always been around and that right now they’re liberal, they’re Democrat, they’re RINOs, they’re Hollywood, they’re fake news, they’re media, they’re academia, and they’re half of our government, at least,” Nugent said in video posted with full context on Media Matters. “So come to that realization. There are rabid coyotes running around. You don’t wait till you see one to go get your gun. Keep your gun handy, and every time you see one, you shoot one.”
With all due respect to Mr. Nugent, “I discussed this with our lawyers and they consider it murder” (to apply an appropriate “Simpsons” quote).
This level of anger and violence from a conservative is surprising considering that Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress. There is absolutely no chance of liberals coming to take Mr. Nugent’s guns unless President Trump and other Republicans defect to the anti-gun caucus. In calling for attacks on political opponents, Mr. Nugent sounds more like the frenzied opposition than a member of the party in power.
In fact, Nugent’s comments sound strikingly similar to another entertainer who called for the execution of members of the NRA, where Nugent is on the board. In October 2017, Nancy Sinatra tweeted, “The murderous members of the NRA should face a firing squad.” Conservatives rightfully condemned the tweet, which Sinatra deleted.
It is also surprising that many voters on the right would echo Nugent’s call for violence. When I posted a link to the story on my Facebook page, the Common Sense Conservative, most of the conservative, Christian, law-abiding, Second Amendment supporters who commented shared Nugent’s point-of-view.
Let me state unequivocally that if you claim to be a law-abiding gun owner you should not advocate political violence against other Americans. This undermines your claim that you aren’t a danger to society.
Further, anyone who thinks that mass murder is necessary to advance their policy goals is admitting that they are incapable of making a rational and logical argument to persuade voters. If, in a democratic society, conservatives can’t win support for their policies at the ballot box, how can they hope to garner support for the distinctly un-American idea of slaughtering political opponents?
Over the past three decades, Second Amendment groups have succeeded in convincing voters that gun control does not work. Gun laws have been rolled back, gun ownership is at an all-time high and the crime rate has declined at the same time. Even most Democrats are afraid to support serious gun controls. What is Mr. Nugent afraid of?
Finally, violent rhetoric like Ms. Sinatra’s and Mr. Nugent’s deepens the partisan divide between us. Few Americans want to kill NRA members and, hopefully , few want to kill liberals as well. The left will point to Nugent’s rant as evidence that conservatives and gun owners are dangerous fanatics. Tomorrow conservatives will point the finger back towards the left for some offense.
Mr. Nugent is wrong that all liberals are evil and dishonest. Most liberals are patriotic Americans, just like most conservatives, who, by the way, are not all saints. If you stop to think about it, you probably have friends, relatives and coworkers who are liberals and who are not monsters. Most Americans on both sides of the political spectrum want the best for the country, we just disagree about how to get there.
Most of us don’t eat Tide pods, snort condoms, wear hats shaped like female genitalia and most of us don’t want to kill each other. As both sides focus on the worst examples of their opponents - and become more radical themselves - the divide between us deepens and increases the chance of bloodshed.
The political violence that many on both sides seem to want would be an avoidable tragedy. Law-abiding and peaceful Americans on both sides have a duty to speak out against the radicals, regardless of their political affiliation.
[Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia]