By: Mike McDaniel As a teacher of high school English, I labor ceaselessly to ensure my students are not only capable of reading the words on the page, but accurately understanding not only their denotations–dictionary definitions–but their connotations–the ideas and images the words invoke–as well. This is not always easy. Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an obvious example.
It would be hard to imagine a more effective argument against the dehumanization and institution of slavery than Huck Finn. I doubt any book did more to change minds and to cause Americans to see blacks as human beings, particularly considering the time, than the book Ernest Hemingway called the inspiration for all American novels. Yet, it remains, year after year, among the books people most attempt to ban. Too many supposedly educated adults see in the book racism and a variety of other evils that simply don’t exist. One could attribute this to the fact some people are simply incapable of understanding satire, but where the Left is concerned, their motivations are much deeper, and more sinister.
In our age of non-readers, many even have difficulty understanding visual presentations: the spoken word, accompanied by imagery. Such is the case for a recent NRA video, featuring author and radio personality Dana Loesch. This is the text of the video. It was posted, by coincidence, two days before the mass assassination attempt, by a deranged leftist, on Republican congressmen practicing for a benefit baseball game:
They use their media to assassinate real news. They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and awards shows to repeat their narrative over and over again. And then they use their ex-president to endorse the ‘resistance.’
All to make them march. Make them protest. Make them scream ‘racism’ and ‘sexism’ and ‘xenophobia’ and ‘homophobia.’
To smash windows. Burn cars. Shut down interstates and airports. Bully and terrorize the law-abiding.
Until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness. And when that happens, they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage.
The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth.
I’m the National Rifle Association of America. And I’m Freedom’s Safest Place.
What, exactly, is Loesch–pronounced “lash”–saying? My 16-17 year-old students would have no trouble with it, particularly if accompanied by the imagery of the NRA spot. Let’s take it, just as I would in class, paragraph by paragraph.
Paragraph 1: Loesch is pointing out the progressive Left is doing violence to the truth in the news. Schools engage in political indoctrination rather than teaching (see this article for a disturbing example), particularly teaching hatred toward our lawfully elected president. The left has politicized movies and all kinds of popular entertainment. President Obama is legitimizing active attempts to subvert our Republic.
Paragraph 2: The Left does this to make fellow leftists angry and to encourage them to hate conservatives.
Paragraph 3: The Left is engaging in criminal acts, and actually hurting people because of their political beliefs.
Paragraph 4: The police must enforce the rule of law. When they do, the Left will complain.
Paragraph 5: This paragraph uses two clear metaphors. The best way to fight lies is with the truth.
Paragraph 6: The NRA is in favor of freedom.
What is abundantly clear to teenagers escapes the self-imagine elite of journalism:
Is Applebaum really unable to understand the clear meanings of words? That’s unlikely. Then what is she, and her fellow progressives, saying? Why can’t they speak clearly?
Loesch speaks of a “narrative,” which is precisely what Applebaum and the others noted here are desperately trying to forward. They just know Conservatives are violent, evil, cruel and ready, any moment, to kill everyone not like them. The NRA, which works to defend the Second Amendment and to secure universal safe handling of firearms, is particularly dangerous because it is the most successful, genuinely grassroots lobbying organization in history, unlike it’s astroturf opponents. Progressives particularly hate the NRA, and law-abiding gun owners, because they know there is no more effective foil to their despotic designs than armed citizens. The mere suggestion that the Second Amendment was written to provide Americans with the means to overthrow a dictatorial government makes the Left throw screaming hissy fits, but it is no less true for their spittle-slinging tantrums. When Conservatives routinely fail to provide the kind of clear rhetoric that would reveal what Leftists just know is true about them, Progressives resort to unsupportable implications, to tortured interpretations, to hearing “code words,” to hearing “dog whistles” and to outright lies:
They read between lines that aren’t there to find coded messages that don’t exist, to keep the faithful perpetually outraged against nonexistent threats. Conservatives believe words have meaning, and those meanings necessarily define and limit. This is why Conservatives believe the Constitution means what it says and says what it means. That is why the Founders argued over virtually every sentence, every word, even punctuation. That is why laws that cannot be understood by the man of average intelligence are void for vagueness.
Progressives believe language is flexible and must conform to and support the narrative–whichever narrative is currently in vogue. When Leftists claim the Constitution, written in the English of more than two centuries past, cannot be understood by contemporary Americans, they are trying to bend its text to the current narrative. It must be properly interpreted to conform with the goals of social justice. The words mean anything and everything progressives want them to mean to obtain their policy objectives. They do not define, and they particularly do not limit, as I’m sure this gentleman would argue:
Dana Loesch is white. She is also articulate, passionate, beautiful and an effective communicator, which is certainly part of what so enrages the Left. However, no one can point to anything Loesch has ever said or done that can rationally be called racist. I am confident none of my students could find a “call to violence” in the ad. However, when one can hear dog whistles, anything might be possible. And “white supremacy?” There is no reference to race in the ad, nor can one be reasonably implied—unless of course one thinks the black clad, hooded and masked antifas committing felonies are somehow a reference to black people–to say nothing about white supremacy. Racists, and certdainly white supremacists, are rightly social pariahs. The Civil Right Movement succeeded, but people like McKesson would drag us back to the 50s and lie to Blacks to make them believe they are helpless and oppressed and only government can allow them to live productive and successful lives. Loesch and the NRA certainly say, and imply, nothing about race. It is ironic that most antifa thugs are well-off young whites who bravely conceal their identities and race when committing crimes.
Sean Davis at The Federalist, speaking of the NRA ad, and the assassination attempt on Republican congressmen, wrote:
Unsurprisingly, a lot of Republicans responded to the attempted massacre by noting that unconstitutional laws in D.C. actually prevented the Republican officials from carrying firearms for the purpose of self-defense (although the shooting was in Virginia, most lawmakers reside in D.C., meaning D.C. law effectively bans them from carrying anywhere in the area since they would eventually have to return to their homes with the firearms).
Progressives, however, are outraged at Second Amendment defenders for having the audacity to claim a right to self-defense in the wake of a mass assassination attempt. On Thursday, failed Baltimore mayoral candidate and Black Lives Matter gadfly Deray McKesson raged at Dana Loesch and accused her and the National Rifle Association (NRA) of ‘white supremacy’ for noting in a prophetic promotional video filmed in April that progressive activists were becoming increasingly violent.
The ad is entirely accurate. Progressives have become increasingly violent, and the ad depicted only a tiny fraction of their recent violence aimed at actually overthrowing the lawfully elected government of the United States. This is “The Resistance.”
“Rather than undercutting Loesch’s claim that progressives reflexively scream racism whenever anyone challenges them, McKesson only underscored her point by accusing her of being a white supremacist for pointing out violence committed by leftists.
This, to progressives, is outrageous. The left are righteous, virtuous fighters for social justice and progress. They cry they don’t use violence, but justify it whenever they do by pointing to nonexistent violence supposed committed by conservatives.
Anne Applebaum, another liberal journalist and former member of the Washington Post editorial board, hopped onto Twitter and did her best to amplify Goldfarb’s rage at the NRA for noting on Facebook, two days before an anti-Republican assassination attempt, that progressives were becoming increasingly violent and unhinged in their opposition to the Trump administration and the Republican Congress.
Like Goldfarb, Applebaum also appears to be under the misimpression that no major political violence occurred in the U.S. in recent weeks.
Taking the text and imagery of the ad as a whole, and understanding the mission of the NRA, one can reasonably imply the ad affirms the right of each law-abiding man and woman to keep and bear arms, and illustrates, in stark and unmistakable imagery and rhetoric, the very present danger that can best be addressed by the responsible and lawful exercise of the unalienable right. It also indirectly implies the dangers of the Ferguson Effect, where our police forces, particularly in Democrat-controlled cities, give rioters free reign, and do the same for common criminals, particularly those “of color.” At the very least, it reminds us that the police not only have no legal duty to protect any citizen, there are very few of them; they can’t protect anyone.
One cannot reasonably argue the ad encourages violence against anyone, except lawful violence in self-defense against criminals, regardless of their political beliefs. Yet even that indirect implication is a stretch, and relies on separate knowledge of the NRA’s legislative objectives and activities, as well as Loesch’s work. Any other implication is the result of projection, inherently impulsive, paranoid and violent people projecting their desires and intentions on others. It is also the result of people obsessed with the hatred of Conservatives that bear them no ill will, and who intend them no harm.
The fact of the matter is that it wasn’t the NRA that tried to murder a bunch of its political opponents. It wasn’t the NRA that published the location and security details of its foes. It wasn’t the NRA that surveilled a park and confirmed that everyone in it had the “wrong” politics before unloading on them. No, that was done by a progressive Democrat activist. All the NRA did was point out leftist violence and note that Americans have a God-given right, affirmed by the U.S. Constitution, to defend themselves and their loved ones from that very violence.
To Golfarb and Applebaum and McKesson, the NRA’s crime wasn’t committing or fomenting violence. The NRA’s crime was refusing to let leftist violence go unnoticed.
The anguished screams of the Left against the NRA ad and Loesch continue to this day. A “Women’s March,” against the NRA and Loesch was recently held, but few media outlets noted the numbers of women present, which speaks volumes. Amazingly, no violence was done to the marchers, who spoke their minds without interruption or consequences. Where were the violent conservatives? If law-abiding gun owners were really as violent and evil as Progressives suggest, how is it Leftists continue to exist? In fact, it has been progressives, of late, who have been publicizing their desire to arm and train themselves, and to use those weapons to enforce their will.
Applebaum, McKesson and the others may be so far gone they truly believe the dog-whistled, code-worded messages they receive through their fillings despite wearing tinfoil hats to block the T-rays beamed at them from the White House and NRA headquarters. Or they may not be so far gone they cannot understand the unmistakable denotations and connotations of the NRA ad. If that’s the case, Loesch is right. It is Leftists doing violence to the truth. They’re liars, willing to say, perhaps to do, anything to damage their political enemies, and in this case, to force the fall of the American government, to court civil war.
It’s time for the “clenched fist of truth,” that words might, once again, actually mean something consistent from day to day. My teenaged Texan students understand and rely on that. Why can’t progressives?
Mike’s Home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.