Ed Kilgore at Political Animal talks about James Porter, the new president of the extremist National Rifle Association:
... Porter seems to be highly representative of the amazingly common type of contemporary “conservatives” who combine extremist language about their political opponents with violent language about their political options—who in effect point their guns at “liberals” while making it known they and they alone will decide what “liberties” to surrender, democracy or laws be damned.
It makes it worse that Porter is one of the old boys who thinks it ha-larious to refer to the American Civil War as the “war of northern aggression” (as “we” put it “down south,” he said to a New York crowd recently). Since that war, whatever else it represented, was without question an armed revolution against the government of the United States, you have to wonder if the Confederacy—or as it was commonly referred to in the north for many decades, “the Rebellion”—is Porter’s model for defense of oneself against “tyranny” (you may recall that John Wilkes Booth shouted “Sic semper tyrannus“—“thus always to tyrants”) after shooting Lincoln.
Am I perhaps being unfair to these people in suggesting that they are behaving like America-haters and are flirting with treason? I don’t think so. Porter and those like him could dispel this sort of suspicion instantly, any time they wanted, by just saying: “Let’s be clear: the kind of ‘tyranny’ we are arming ourselves to forestall is something entirely different from anything Americans have experienced since we won our independence—a regime engaged in the active suppression of any sort of dissent, and the closure of any peaceful means for the redress of grievances. We’re not talking about the current administration, or either major political party, as presently representing a threat of tyranny.”
I’m not holding my breath for any statements like that to emerge from the NRA, or indeed, from the contemporary conservative movement. It’s ironic that people who almost certainly think of themselves as patriots—perhaps as super-patriots—are deliberately courting the impression that loyalty to their country is strictly contingent on the maintenance of laws and policies they favor, to be achieved if not by ballots then by bullets. Republican politicians should be repudiating such people instead of celebrating them, accepting their money and support, and even adopting their seditious rhetoric. [My emphasis.]