The convention’s featured speaker is former Presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich and its unofficial theme appears to be ‘Second Amendment remedies,’ with attractions like a raffle of a 12-gauge shotgun, a shovel and a roll of duct tape (which Gingrich vows to give to his 10-year-old grandson, should he win). The gun/shovel/duct tape combo was a reference to the area’s wolf problem and on the proposed solution, “shoot, shovel and shut up,” which alludes to the fact that Montana’s Governor encourages shooting wolves, even if it violates federal law.
Even more shocking is one of the featured displays – an outhouse labeled, “Obama Presidential Library,” and decorated with bullet holes. Inside is a fake “Barack Hussein Obama” birth certificate, which was, according to the Helena Independent Record, “stamped “Bull—-.” A graffito advised “For a Good Time call 800-Michelle (crossed out), Hillary (crossed out) and Pelosi (circled in red.)”
State GOP Chairman Will Deschamps of Missoula isn’t too concerned about it. He said he didn’t know who set it up, but said it was “a sideshow,” adding, “It’s not something I’m going to agonize over,” he said. “Some of that stuff is not real good taste. We do have a president of the United States, and we have to honor that.”
The United States is one of only a tiny handful of countries with the constitutional right to own guns. The only other country with laws as broad as ours is Guatemala, which has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world. The other countries with constitutionally protected rights to bear arms are Mexico and Haiti.
While I am sure that the vast majority of gun owners are responsible, it seems for a segment of the gun owning population, the second amendment has become an excuse to hoard what for many, is nothing more than a very dangerous toy. While the threats might not be literal, this breed of Republican gun owners makes no attempt to hide the figurative threats. Like an “enforcer” in an old gangster movie, pounding fist against hand, they have the constant need to remind us of their power. Their power is not the constitutionally guaranteed power of the vote, nor the constitutionally guaranteed power of speech. For most, it certainly isn’t the (according to the Roberts’ Supreme Court) constitutionally guaranteed power of unlimited money. It isn’t even physical power. Their power is the type that can be bought at a local Walmart. They have the power to bypass our democratic republic. They have the power to shoot someone over a political disagreement.
I suppose we shouldn’t complain. Perhaps we should encourage large groups of gun totin’ Republicans to gather in one place, preferably with an open bar. Then again, that’s not who we are. Most Democrats prefer to rely on our other constitutionally guaranteed rights, especially when it comes to politics.