One of the realities of being a member of a minority group in America is the lack illusions many of us have about the capacity for extreme depravity that exists within this nation's majority. One of the great fallacies of our time, an erroneous but popular notion that underlies much of the opinion pieces and editorial writing by our most prominent practitioners, is the fallacy of American reasonableness, a fantasy that obscures the violent and often contradictory actions of this country’s citizens and its government.
This instinctive rush by most in our media and many in our blogosphere over the last few days to claim an equal amount of culpability by both the political left and the political right in poisoning our political atmosphere with violent rhetoric is a desperate attempt to inject a sense of reasonableness into a debate about unreasonable behavior. But what is reasonable, or even sane, about a South Carolina gun accessories manufacturer who recently attempted to capitalize off the disrespectful outburst of Rep. Joe Wilson from the congressional gallery during President Barack Obama’s first State Of The Union address by emblazoning “you lie” on a limited edition supply of AR-15 semi-automatic rifles?
After seeing this story this morning, I clicked on a few links, following the trail of commentary about the gun accessories manufacturer’s tribute to Wilson to a Youtube video that pictured Alaska supporters for Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller marching in a parade earlier this year, their AR-15’s strapped to their backs. I got curious, and decided to type “Republican assault rifle”, “GOP assault rifle”, “Republican rifle” and “GOP rifle” into the Youtube search bar while I drank my morning coffee. These are some of the results below.
Want this in the US Senate?
Nieves Calls Assault Rifle "Nancy Pelosi Special"
Candidate Christina Jeffrey, AK-47 In Hand, On The 2nd Amendment
I'm Dale Peterson, I'll name names and take no prisoners
Dead Aim - Joe Manchin for West Virginia TV Ad
Silver City, NM Assault rifle raffle, Grant County Republican Party
The rifle imagery in all of these videos is clear and unambiguous. This is the kind of thing a junior network production assistant could compile and edit into a 60 second medley before lunch without breaking a sweat. And if I can come up with these beauties, culled from a leisurely hour of web surfing, I would imagine a more dedicated team of researchers could come up with many, many more publicly available samples of the identity the Republican Party doesn't want to lay claim to this week. But you won’t be seeing anything like this on your television today or any other day because your news media has too much invested in the mantra of false equivalency.
Bill O’Reilly can whine all he wants about how unfair these characterizations are. Rush Limbaugh can bellow like a bull moose about Democrat thuggery until his voice gives out. And Sarah Palin can bleat about blood libel through the microphone set up in her home studio for all the Facebook videos she can tape. Try as they might, none of them or their cohorts can obscure this simple, if unscientific truth—if you transpose the word “Democrat” for “Republican” in the searches I did above, you will see the same thing I saw—very few videos that depict Democrats or their supporters waving around semi-automatic weapons.