Friday, October 24, 2014

Privilege 101 In Iowa's Senate Race

It's not that Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst said the following a couple years ago in Iowa at an NRA event:

"I have a beautiful little Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter, and it goes with me virtually everywhere," Ernst said at the NRA and Iowa Firearms Coalition Second Amendment Rally in Searsboro, Iowa. "But I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family -- whether it's from an intruder, or whether it's from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important."

It's the fact that, as Steve M. points out, it's a perfect example of privilege.

Ernst feels free to make this reckless statement, to a crowd that didn't find it the least bit objectionable, because she feels pretty safe in the assumption that she'll never be called to back those words up with actions. That's because she lives in a country where, regardless of all the hotheaded rhetoric, the government never really tyrannizes people like her and her audience, i.e., heartland white people of some means
If Ernst and the crowd she was addressing were African-American, and had to get used to staggeringly high incarceration rates, as well as routine stop-and-frisk episodes and traffic stops for themselves and their children, they'd have to ask themselves if they were really so damn brave that they'd take up arms against the government. But they don't have to worry about that. So Ernst can just let loose this way with a barrage of irresponsible talk about insurrection.

So yes, it's a perfect example.  As a veteran, Ernst should know better than to so blithely treat firearms as a propaganda piece instead of something that can, if necessary, kill.  But that's not what the NRA crowds want to hear.  They want red meat.

Oh, sure, there was that crazy David Koresh a generation ago, and there was Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge shortly before that. But in this century there's been one situation of this kind involving conservative white people: the standoff at Cliven Bundy's ranch. And in that situation, Bundy and his pals didn't actually have reason to put a bullet in anyone because the Bundyites were conservative heartland whites, and a government run by a widely despised black guy, and with an even more loathed black guy as attorney general, was never really going to risk messing with them.

Whether they'll admit it or not, white right-wing heartlanders know that the jackbooted government thuggery they have Walter Mitty fantasies about resisting happens to them only after they engage in the most extreme provocation. So they talk the talk, knowing they won't ever to have to walk the walk.

They pick a fight knowing it won't come, because it fulfills the lizard-brain need to lash out.  It's precisely because Joni Ernst can say things like this and still be in the running for a Senate seat that proves everything she says is idiotically wrong.  If Barack Obama really were the tyrant they said he was, and Eric Holder was his bag man, Joni Ernst would have been dealt with in a rather permanent fashion, yes?

Of course the barbaric yawp response to this is "And it's because we're ready to use these weapons that keeps the government from going after us" like somehow, the US armed forces that Ernst belonged to wouldn't wipe the floor with a bunch of average guys with guns if that what Barack Obama wanted to happen.

Now imagine that black protesters in Ferguson, Missouri told the cops "I do believe in the right to carry...I believe in the right to defend myself and my family...from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important" and see how long before that same government executes them on the streets like dogs for daring to exercise that right.

Black people get killed for picking up a BB gun in Wal-mart, remember?  I don't hear Joni Ernst saying anything about the right to resist government when it comes to government brutality suffered for centuries by black people.

Funny how that works.

No wonder Ernst is spending the last days of the race dodging the press.  Somebody might ask her questions, and we can't have that.  But she seems to think this might hurt in a close race, because ten days before the election she's already taking steps towards getting a recount motion started.

You think she'll lose gracefully?

Not this person.

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