When one has multiple, daily national megaphones, when one is ceaselessly lauded as the voice of conservatism, when one begins to take oneself just a little too seriously, they might do as Sean Hannity did on his Hannity broadcast on May 04, 2020. But first, let us be sure of the background of the topic at hand–the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution:
First Amendment: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.’
Second Amendment: ‘A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’
In this case, we’re not discussing the establishment—of religion—clause, but quite specifically the remainder of the First Amendment, and we are also specifically discussing the independent clause, not the dependent/prefatory clause, of the Second Amendment. It is always the independent clause that carries the meaning, the message. One would hope, circa May, 2020, no one would fall back on claiming the Second Amendment only grants the right to keep and bear arms to the military. I won’t bother to address that uninformed or deceptive assertion, except to suggest anyone laboring under that misconception visit the Heller decision, which for the first time, partially clarified the law of the land. They might also want to visit the Heller dissent, where the anti-liberty bloc of the Supreme Court argued the Second Amendment does speak to an individual right to keep and bear arms, it just has no application in the lives of Americans if the government doesn’t want it to.
Additional background for the topic of this article is Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s dictatorial edicts, such as prohibiting the sale of plant seeds, which Whitmer considers “non-essential,” unlike the sale of booze or lottery tickets. Whitmer also considered clothing and infant car seats non-essential. This tweet more or less sums up the Governor’s edict—one of many:
In response, a substantial number of normal Americans staged a protest at the Michigan capital grounds and building, and a number openly carried guns, including long guns.
As one might imagine, Gov. Whitmer—and the media—went berserk, calling the peaceful protestors racists, white supremacists and Nazis. They screeched there were confederate flags (I’ve seen multiple news images of the same, single, sort of confederate-looking flag). They even claimed there were displays of swastikas and nooses (I’ve seen exactly no images of any of those). What is clear is the protest was peaceful, no one was apparently threatened, there was no gunplay, and if there were any arrests, they certainly weren’t well publicized, which they surely would have been.
Hannity was generally supportive of the protest, except to disparage those openly carrying, particularly long guns. His argument was the mere open carrying of guns would keep their voices—their message of governmental overreach—from being heard. He argued they shouldn’t make it easy for their opponents to demonize and ignore them, and even argued their exercise of their Second Amendment rights made the job of the police in attendance more difficult. He also argued those openly carrying were doing it to intimidate, ostensibly the dictatorial politicians they were present to protest.
Dan Bongino was a guest, and after one of Hannity’s characteristically long set up/sort of questions, Bongino disagreed with Hannity’s premise. Hannity immediately began talking over Bongino, telling him how wrong he was, and keeping him from getting a word in edgewise. Later in the broadcast, Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was more agreeable to Hannity’s point of view, and was allowed to make his points without interruption. Among them was just because one can do something, doesn’t mean they should, which as a general observation is not prima facie objectionable, but context is important. In other words, Hannity did what D/S/Cs often do when they can’t defend the indefensible: shout down their opponents and deny them free speech—unless they agree with them. It was not one of his finest hours.
Please keep in mind, gentle readers, I generally take pains to keep any weapons I’m carrying concealed. Carrying a long gun is a two-handed obligation, and I prefer to keep a generally low profile. When I see others carrying openly, I observe them for long enough to be reasonable certain they present no threat, and go about my business. Their choice in exercising their rights does not prevent me from exercising mine.
So. The Michigan protestors were exercising their rights to free speech, peaceable assembly, and petitioning the government for redress of grievances. They were also exercising their right to bear arms, which for the time being is lawful in Michigan, though I’m sure Gov. Whitmer (need I say she’s a D/S/C?) would love to change that.
Taking Hannity’s “making the lives of police officers difficult” argument first, I’ll note I’ve been in the blue suit, and always assumed everyone I met was armed, or had weapons close at hand, even if I could not see them. I generally make that assumption even today, and commonly remain in a relaxed condition yellow, as do all professional police officers. They know it’s just a part of the job, of the life. Obviously, the police at the protest were not threatened, nor were they, by the apparently complete lack of any threat, in danger, nor was the general public. An armed society does indeed tend to be a polite society.
Were those armed purposely intimidating the politicians they argue were suppressing their liberties? I’ve no doubt some had that intention, which may not be a bad thing. For such politicians, the media, and other members of the self-imagined elite, our moral, intellectual betters, the mere existence of any that oppose them is infuriating, perhaps intimidating. These, remember gentle readers, are people who cannot imagine why anyone would want to own a gun. They believe gun owners to be deranged, violent, dangerous, even inherently evil. Of course, many of them feel the same about people that own and drive pickup trucks…
One might be tempted to accept the argument that it’s generally best never to let anything get in the way of a pure political message, but in so doing, they’d forget it is a primary D/S/C tactic to define the parameters and conditions of any debate. When they can do that, they win. In blind pursuit of a single, arguable general point, Hannity and others would let people who want to destroy the First and Second Amendments dictate the terms of the debate.
These are not people that are going to accept anything normal Americans say, believe or cherish, even if everything they say and do is in strict accord with the letter and intent of the Bill of Rights—particularly not then. These are people who continue to scream about the inadvisability of in any way “normalizing” President Trump. It must be remembered Mr. Trump is merely the symbol of Normal America, constitutional America, rule of law America, actual-not social—justice America. They hate him, they seek to keep anyone from seeing him as “normal,” from accepting him as legitimate in any way, because they hate those he represents and do not consider them normal or legitimate.
It matters not to D/S/Cs that the Michigan protestors were lawfully and non-threateningly carrying guns, except as a convenient vehicle for demonizing them, everyone like them, and everything they believe or might want to say. They don’t need guns to do that. They do it constantly, day in and day out, without the presence of guns. The mere existence of normal Americans is more than sufficient to provoke their ire and condescension.
The fact is their never-ending un and extra-constitutional pursuit of the disarmament of the law-abiding, and as recent events have demonstrated, the elevation of the worst, most vicious criminals, reveals their pathology. They can never achieve their socialist utopia if Normal Americans are allowed to keep and bear arms. And they’ll achieve it–mark their words–where all before them have failed. They’ll fundamentally transform America, and march boldly over the untold millions of corpses laid out by socialism and communism thus far—you have to break a few eggs to make a utopian omelet—because they’re so much smarter, more moral and intelligent than every D/S/C before them.
It is these people we must appease? It is their tender sensibilities we must consider over other concerns? It is to such paragons of acceptance and inclusion we must surrender our liberties that they may finally, at long last, hear and accept our humble supplications? It is only the constitutional, open carrying of weapons that is keeping them from understanding the constitutional, American, pro-liberty point of view? Without guns, the scales would fall from their eyes, and they would admit they have been wrong all along?
One might further argue that the open carrying of weapons might offend others not so ideologically blinkered, people who might be persuadable to the cause of liberty. Better, perhaps, to demonstrate, as those peaceable people did in Michigan, that it is arms that guarantee the First Amendment and every other right. Better to show that arms are merely tools, and violence lives and acts not in them, but in the hearts of men. Better that they come to realize that the exercise of the Second Amendment—and all liberties–must be “normalized” if American liberties are to survive, for it is not those that support the Constitution and would preserve it that seek to do violence on a grand scale. Better, perhaps to demonstrate that rights which must be hidden from public view are not rights at all. Better that they realize the supposed racists, white supremacists and Nazis did not, in any way, act as such degenerates are supposed to act, and if that’s a lie, perhaps much of what Gov. Whitmer and similarly inclined politicians desperate to destroy the economy say, might also be a lie. Actions do, in many cases, speak louder than words.
It is not those that lawfully exercise fundamental, unalienable rights that are worthy of being called vile names, but those that would deny honest Americans those rights.
Sean Hannity is an honorable man, and I don’t say that as Mark Antony spoke of the conspirators in Julius Caesar. I am generally in agreement with him, though I often think he spends more time talking than he too often allows his guests. He has accomplished much in the cause of liberty, and will doubtless accomplish much more. This time, however, he appears to have given too much credit for potential good will to those that would crush him, and all of us, on a bloody political altar.
And your thoughts, gentle readers?
UPDATE, 05-05-20 2245 CST: On the May 05 edition of Hannity, Hannity revealed the execrable Joy Behar of The View agrees with his assessment. He said he may have to review his thinking. I agree, but I don’t think he and I were thinking about the same kind of review.