Mitch McConnell Fear-Mongers To Gun Zealots: ‘Dear Patriot, You And I Are Literally Surrounded’


At a time when reasonable minds are being asked to step up to address the urgent demand to do something significant and meaningful about perverse and pervasive gun violence, it is stunning to note that some in government – those whose politics are hard right and too often very wrong – are more concerned with their gun passions and paranoias than working with the administration and Congress to find real solutions.

Case in point: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, sent out a fundraising email for the Kentucky senator after the President signed his 23 Executive Orders:

Dear Patriot,

You and I are literally surrounded.

The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment. On your rights.

On your freedom.

Just the other night, President Obama urged them to act. And then he went one step further, spelling out the 23 different Executive Orders he will take to get your guns.

First of all, let’s quickly deal with his salutation: the word “Patriot” has been incorrectly co-opted by the right, the Tea Party, conservatives, etc., as a label for their side; the clear implication being that those in the country who believe differently – more concerned, perhaps, about public safety, civil rights, marriage equality, heathcare reform, rational gun controls, etc. – are NOT patriots, but instead are…what? Rabble rousers? Anarchists? That is both insulting and ignorant.

How about, instead, framing that contingent of American citizen, the one less concerned with fear-mongering on the topic of personal firearms, as a group that believes the concern for the “greater good” (that anathema of “patriots” like McConnell and his ilk) requires wisdom, compassion, and a willingness to consider issues, matters and people outside of one’s own self-interests, and is, in fact, paramount for a democracy by and for the people. Particularly since ‘the people” is inclusive of all of us, not just right wing gun lovers.

But let’s continue, as the McConnell letter goes on:

My friend, our freedom is under direct assault.

From those who want take your guns. From those who want to shred our Constitution, and as our good in friend Rand Paul from Kentucky says, from those who want to be King.

Let me tell you, Mitch McConnell is ready to lead the fight to protect your rights.

Will you stand with Mitch today?

[To read the whole McConnell email, click here.]

May I offer some course correction, Senator McConnell?

What is “under direct assault” is our children sitting in their classrooms, our co-workers in their places of business, our friends enjoying a trip to a movie theater, a congresswomen hosting neighborhood rallies in shopping malls.

What is NOT under assault? The freedom to own guns. In truth, beyond the lies being perpetrated, the administration and those who care about public safety are simply demanding stronger, better enforced regulations and controls. Yes, that clearly bothers those who mistakenly believe their personal rights to own whatever they want trumps the concerns of the rest of the country, but, fortunately, a greater majority of people, both in the country-at-large and within government, believe differently. Those patriots are not “assaulting” anyone’s rights; they’re asking – demanding – that all Americans make the necessary adjustments – just as we all did after 9/11 – to accommodate a strategy of greater security and protection. That McConnell and his cabal are less concerned about that and more concerned about their personal interests is a very strange and skewed view of “patriotism.”

Someone who feels the same, Senator John Yarmuth (D-Ky), had an interesting response to his fellow Kentuckian’s letter:

“I didn’t think it was possible for Sen. McConnell to set a lower bar on honesty, but he did it with that email. He’s stoking totally irrational and unjustifiable fear, clearly for political purposes.

He’s misleading the people he sends that to, because what he’s saying is absolutely dishonest. And it can also be dangerous, because people get that email who may not have been following the debate, and they all of a sudden get anxious and who knows what can happen from that kind of provocation.

One of the things that’s fascinating to me is he talked about the executive actions and invoked Rand Paul’s line about a “King.” The gun lobby themselves, their lawyers have looked at those executive actions and said “we tried to find one that we could challenge, but every one of them is clearly in the president’s law enforcement authority.” And that’s coming from the gun lobby. So for him to mention that is just outrageous and potentially dangerous.”

When asked about the recent “gun appreciation days” and the comparisons of Obama to Hitler and Stalin, Yarmuth asserted that this extremist kind of thinking is only aided by the fear-mongering of people like McConnell:

This to me is pretty much as low as you can go in terms of being irresponsible as a public official. He knows that’s not true, he’s making it up, and he’s using it for his own political benefit. And then in the same letter he actually accuses the administration of exploiting something for political purposes. What does he think he’s doing with that email? I was incredulous when I saw it.

As were many.

There is so much wrong with McConnell’s approach that it would take pages to break it all down – paranoia, suspicion, fear-mongering, lies, obfuscation, manipulation of truth, denigration of fellow citizens, denial of facts, misstatements, and sheer, unvarnished selfishness. That’s bad enough for a placard-waving Tea Party member; for rabid “gun appreciators,” conspiracy theorist, and hate-speakers. For a leader in government, particularly at a time when thoughtful, wiser minds are struggling to do the work of finding solutions to gun violence that are effective and takes into account all factions of the debate, it’s downright shameful.




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