Monday, September 24, 2012

Emery message: We need guns to take care of Obama

(The following is my latest post for Daily Kos.)

Had his words been phrased any less artfully, former Missouri State Rep. Ed Emery might be in an interrogation room facing Secret Service agents.

At the beginning of a state senate campaign stop in Adrian, Missouri, Saturday, Emery pledged his undying loyalty to the Constitution, something he does on a regular basis and one certainly cannot fault him for it.

In particular, Emery loves the Second Amendment. It’s not there for quail hunting, Emery told the friendly Tea Party-type gathering. It’s not there so people can protect themselves from their neighbors.

“We need guns to be protected from the tyranny of government,” Emery said to a loud outburst of spontaneous applause.

Emery continued to talk about that for a few moments, then added, “Barack Obama has showed us what tyranny looks like.”

In other words, and though Emery did not put the two sentences together the meaning was unmistakable, Guns are there to protect us from government tyranny. Barack Obama has shown us what tyranny looks like.

It doesn’t take a Harvard graduate to put two and two together.

This, unfortunately, is what passes for political discourse in some corners of America today. And Ed Emery appears to be a shoo-in for election, though he does have a Democratic opponent in the November election.

Emery has been associated with the birther movement, became well known in Missouri government circles after his House special committee issued a report which blamed Missouri’s immigration problems on abortion (if all of those babies had not been aborted, Emery reasoned, there would be no jobs available for anyone coming from another country).

And Emery also has a disdain for public education, which he has never kept secret. His children were homeschooled because all of the dangers he saw in those “government-run schools.”

On his website, Emery makes it clear that he considers public education to be “slavery and a pipeline to prison,” and that vouchers are the way to go.

Vouchers are one way of providing the power of competition to state-run schools, but they are not the only way. Nevertheless, vouchers have worked where used, and all schools, both government and private, improved scores — some significantly. In addition, dropout rates always declined when competition was introduced via vouchers. However, big-government advocates fear competition and individual freedom. They argue that the use of vouchers will enslave private and parochial schools by “accepting government money and the strings that go with it.” They don’t trust private and Christian schools to read the law and make their own decisions about the risks and benefits. Yet, I believe it is a question of personal liberty, of choice. Why should big-government politicians decide whether or not parents and school administrators can make that decision? Non-government schools are capable of choosing whether or not they will accept vouchers; that is freedom. Freedom is about choice. The absence of choice is slavery — a form of imprisonment. It is freedom, not slavery, that produces opportunity, and it is opportunity that produces the prosperity and exceptionalism of the United States. In education, we have removed all of that choice. 

What is scarier than the prospect of an Ed Emery in the Missouri Senate is listening to the heartfelt applause of those who firmly believe everything he says.

What people like Ed Emery and many of those who have spread similar views about government in the Tea Party and elsewhere don’t seem to realize is that it is not tyranny that has kept them from achieving their goals, but an inability to learn how to use the most deadly weapon at their disposal.

If you want to get rid of Barack Obama and this perceived tyranny, you don’t talk about guns, you do it the way the Constitution you claim to love prescribes- you get more votes for your candidate.

And above all, you don’t encourage a fringe element that might not understand that you are indulging in heated rhetoric. When you lose, you take it like a man and you don’t go home and grab your gun because things did not go your way.

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