Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: <i>Are these guys in control of Washington, or what?</i> .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Monday, April 18, 2005

Are these guys in control of Washington, or what?

Coincidence? I think not!
(image courtesy of Carnival of Cordite)

The NRA's annual convention wrapped up this weekend with harsh rhetoric aimed at the Democratic Party and the "liberal media".

"The Second Amendment is not a loophole. Quit trying to fix it," Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry told thousands of cheering people during the opening ceremony for the NRA's 134th convention.

Rocker and gun-rights activist Ted Nugent took the convention center stage and played the national anthem on a guitar painted like the American flag. Organizers also paraded former members of Congress who have helped the NRA.

"Let those who oppose us hear our words loud and clear. We did not struggle for 25 years to give back one bit," said Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president.

The NRA is riding a wave of success. Its membership is at an all-time high. And it has helped elect Republicans who support their agenda, including efforts to limit lawsuits seeking damages against gun manufacturers and distributors, and blocking a new ban on assault weapons.

And, of course, entertainers, whom the GOP has always accused of being out of touch with reality when they speak out against right wing agendas, joined the attack as well.

Country music singer Charlie Daniels, who hosted the opening ceremony, also targeted the political left, describing it as "silly and unrealistic" and only wanting to banish the Second Amendment.

As expected, everyone's favorite Rock & Roll gun nut let loose with both barrels.

With an assault weapon in each hand, rocker and gun rights advocate Ted Nugent urged National Rifle Association members to be "hard-core, radical extremists demanding the right to self-defence." Speaking at the NRA's annual convention Saturday, Nugent said each NRA member should try to enrol 10 new members over the next year and associate only with other members.

"Let's next year sit here and say, `Holy smokes, the NRA has 40 million members now,' " he said. "No one is allowed at our barbecues unless they are an NRA member. Do that in your life."

I don't think I'd want to go to an NRA barbecue anyway. I've been to plenty of barbecues, and it's hazardous enough when a bunch of drunks are around fire. I wouldn't want to be there if there were firearms also.

And, suprise, suprise, Tom DeLay was the keynote speaker Saturday night, clinging to the last vestiges of support available to him - his core base of God & Guns loyalists.

"When a man is in trouble or in a good fight, you want to have your friends around, preferably armed. So I feel really good," he said.

All of the cheerleading was basically preaching to the choir, though, as it appears everyone left of the same opinion with which they came.

Ronnie Schneider, who attended the convention with his 13-year-old son, Tate, said he has carried a concealed handgun in Texas since the state allowed it in 1995.

"It's a good healthy thing, I think, for people to like guns," said Schneider, 54, from Willis. "The attitude of the (liberals) is they want to keep us from bearing arms, keep us from our freedoms. Liberals have no brains."

And reports differ when the media addressed protesters. I seems anywhere from "a handful" to "a hundred" were on site, mostly protesting DeLay.

No matter who you listen to, though, the NRA has become a force to be reckoned with, with approximately 4 million members. They've been dictating to Congress and the White House for 25 years, have had their advocates elected, and had their opponents thrown out of office.

They control Washington all right, and seeing the similarities in the images above may seem too "tinfoil hat" to you - but whether it's a convenient coincidence or an intentionally arrogant nose-thumbing by the NRA, it's a telling commentary on their status in today's political environment.


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