Monday, June 23, 2008

Grassroots Pt I

“The moment that this war of resistance dissociates itself from the masses of the people is the precise moment that it dissociates itself from hope of ultimate victory {over the Japanese}.

These words were written in 1937 by Mao Tse-tung in preparation for action against the invading Imperial Japanese Army and his Chinese political rival Chiang Kai-Shek. He wrote them after being routed 6,000 miles and suffering defeat after defeat. As history showed, he learned from his, and others', mistakes.

While his political and economic goals left much to be desired, his knowledge of strategy and tactics proved sound and , in one of those ironies fate likes to play, has more than a few parallels to the pro-rights movement over the last twenty years.

Up until the expansion of Gore’s intrawebs there were, in a metaphorical sense, only orthodox armies on the field. NRA, SAF, GOA, HCI, VPC, etc. Victories such as the Firearm Owners Protection Act and the passing of CCW in Florida were tempered by the Hughes Amendment to said act and the Clinton Assault Weapon Ban as these giants did battle on the playground.

While the pro-rights organizations have always had a larger membership base than their opponents, what they didn’t have was the support of the masses. In the early 1990’s, support for stricter gun controls ran into the high seventies (or higher) and well over half the nation viewed the NRA unfavorably. Gun control groups maintained (and still maintain) a near stranglehold on the conventional media to spread their message, accurate or not.

While the Clinton AWB was a definite tactical victory for the Anti’s, it became a strategic loss of epidemic proportions. This act, along w/ the introduction of the even more restrictive Brady Bill II, garnered in a turnover in Congress in 1994 that was most prominent in states with the highest levels of firearm owners coupled with a blasé voter turnout among voting blocks that would normally vote for candidates holding anti-gun stances . Firearm owners realized that maybe, just maybe, their guns weren’t ‘safe’ and that the anti-gun groups’ “reasonable, common-sense measures” were eventually going to be expanded to include them as well. The rest just didn’t really care anymore.

While Clinton was re-elected in 1996, congressionally, state-wide, and legislatively, through the 2000 elections plus, pro-gun politicians and laws swept the nation. It’s widely felt that Gore’s loss, in a race so close and contested, wouldn’t have been had Gore not run on a heavy gun control platform, costing him several pro-gun states. Polls across the board have showed decreasing support for gun control in all its aspects bar “assault weapons” (a tribute to a successful propaganda campaign that associated them with fully automatic firearms) and even those have great difficulty passing.

In their success, the anti-gun groups dissociated themselves from the masses.

And they paid for it.

To be continued.

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