NRA ad is Disgusting, Frightening, Reprehensible

The new NRA ad is both disgusting and frightening. Language like this is an invitation to the next civil war. The content of the ad is a virtual manifesto for war.  

The term “violence of lies” attempts to deliver the message that the legitimacy of freedom and equal rights for all Americans, including women, including those who are LGBT and people of color, is a lie. Really? The call for health care for all Americans is a lie. Really? The charge that white supremacy and white nationalism is Hitleresque is a lie. Really? And again, really?  

Just what is the NRA legitimizing and promoting here? An all white America? An America where only whites have rights and power? An America where only extremist evangelical Christians are legitimate? An America where it’s every man for himself and the poor, the less able, the disabled, the mentally ill, the “not ambitious enough,” are pushed to the side and left to die? An America in which women, and those who are the wrong color or wrong religion, know their place and follow orders and take what they are given and act happy about it? An America ruled by the richest and biggest and strongest and meanest, instead of the rule of law for all people?  Are we to be, according to the NRA, a country where “All men are created equal” means all men who are white and Baptist and straight? 

George H.W. Bush once said, “This will not stand.”  He was referring to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. I submit that it is time for those who believe in an inclusive, free America, an America which is truly based on all men and women being created equal, to echo that former Republican President’s words. Let all men and women of freedom and tolerance and love respond to the hatred of the alt-right agenda the NRA promotes with that ad by declaring, “This will not stand.”  

America will NOT be a nation of hate. America will NOT be a nation in which only the “right” people rule with their guns and viciousness and threats against those who are the wrong color, or the wrong gender, or who do not behave or worship the “right” way.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war ever since Barack Obama was elected. Not because of him, as he has consistently shown himself to be a moral, caring, intellectual, thoughtful individual. But because of the tide of racism and bigotry and white supremacy advocates that raised their malevolent, violent tentacles of hate against the election of a black man as President.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war because the majority of our people, and our courts have finally ruled that one’s humanity, and rights, are not determined by one’s sexual orientation. 

We have been edging toward a new civil war because our President and our courts and the majority of our people refuse to condemn an entire religion because of the acts of a few.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war because of the incredible concept that women may have some control over their own bodies. 

We have been edging toward a new civil war because of the fear and hate and resentment of fringe groups, the extreme white supremacist right wing nationalists and evangelical, fundamentalist extremist Christian right. They are supported by big business, because big business knows that as long as those groups’ white supremacy egoism is maintained, they will largely be quiet, do as they are told, accept what big business cares to pay them and the working conditions big business determines for them. Just as long as they are assured that they are dominant because they are white and the right kind of Christian. 

The NRA is big business personified. It feeds off of this ultra conservative sector that stands for everything an enlightened society, a truly free, democratic society, must put behind us. The NRA is virtually endorsing another civil war, because it, and the arms industry, feed off of the blood thirst they encourage, the phobic fear of those who are ‘different’ they encourage.  

We have been edging toward a new civil war for all of the above reasons, and for much longer than eight years. Now, with Donald Trump’s ascension, the forces in favor of such an unthinkable event are more rabid than ever. The NRA ad  is abetting the idea of one. When it comes, (the chances of avoiding it just shrank immensely) there will be blood. It will run as freely on one side as on the other. The right seems to think for some reason that the left doesn’t believe in having guns. They are more wrong than they can imagine. The right seems to think that all of the police, and military, will be on their side. They are woefully ignorant on that count. They apparently believe that because they talk more violently, swagger bigger, and act meaner, they really are those things. They are very mistaken. War brings out the inner ruthlessness in all men. Count on it. 

The only questions left to answer, if the next civil war that the right seems to want, that the NRA seems to condone, arrives, are how many gallons of blood will be spilled (it will be by the barrel full), and what kind of country will emerge from the darkest time in American history, bar none.  

If and when the next civil war comes, I am sure that one side will have the bulk of the world’s support, both moral and material in every way possible. And it will not be the side of this country’s burgeoning and threatening neo-Nazis and evangelical extremists.  This is still America, not 1930’s Germany. I believe that most of the world, including America’s allies abroad who watch this awfulness with horror and alertness, stand ready to help our country to right itself. 

The next civil war has been edging closer to us for a long time. The only question before us in the immediate future is, can we find a path of reason that will lead us away from it. This path must include all Americans, not a privileged few. Yet the NRA ad suggests just the opposite, a blood filled road right through the middle of it. 

That is reprehensible with a capital R. 

An Open Letter to Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin

An Open Letter to Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin
With Copies to the Leaders of All Nuclear Nations

Curses on the bunch of you. Who do you think you are? After thirty years or so of mostly easing nuclear tensions, you now start escalating again? How dare you. When did you decide to abandon basic human decency?
You peck and rail against one another. President Putin, you invade the sovereign territory of the Ukraine. Oh, I’m sure you have your reasons, and you feel they are very important. And President Obama, you condemn President Putin and belittle Russia, while you, and we all, know that for decades our own country has invaded others at will, and frequently with very thin reason, from Grenada to Libya to Iraq. You scorn the Russian President and yet you know that the United States is no better, has been no better. We have no high ground from which to throw stones.
And now, President Putin, you start making nuclear war noises again, as if you have forgotten that such a war has no winners, especially in this day of hydrogen bombs. You have bunkers for many millions that America does not have, but you know that there will be nothing but desolation and death by radiation awaiting the occupants of those bunkers when they exit. If they exit.
I’m a simple citizen. I am far from perfect. I’m not a terribly important person. I’m not a great world leader. I never felt the need to chase that kind of ambition. I was a teacher. I still teach on occasion. I love my children and my cats. But I know this. Neither of you is worth the mantle of leader, nor even a claim to the title of decent human being, if you lead this world into an unspeakable nuclear conflict. And in your hearts, you must know that.
I am not omniscient, but I trust and hope that if God is truly just, every individual, in every country, who worked on the creation of nuclear weapons suffers eternal torment in the deepest corners of Hell. If the two of you lead the world into the actual horror of a nuclear war, you will deserve to plummet even lower. Never mind who did or does what first at this stage. Both of you, and the leaders of the two countries, and England, and France, and every other country that has built these Godless weapons, have created the playing field and prepared the game plan. You are equally at fault. There is no innocence.
If you are truly worthy of the positions you hold, if you have any real claim to the leadership of millions of people, there is only one recourse for you. Stop this escalation of nuclear confrontation now. Right. Now. Then get together and agree to one thing at the beginning. There is no conflict that is worth the destruction of human life on this planet to a scale that is virtually inconceivable. Then agree to get rid of the damnation of nuclear weapons once and for all. Start now. Use the mutual strength of both nations to force other nations to do the same. Bring China into the fold. England, France, all of the nuclear nations. As each new nation joins the mission to end nuclear weapons, the strength to convince others becomes greater. Find common ground, and I don’t give a damn how difficult that may be. If you are leaders, your job is to make it happen, not continue to put the people of the world at ever increasing risk of the unspeakable.
Mankind has a terrible enough history of violence as it is. Centuries of killing and maiming and stealing and torturing each other. It’s time to put an end to it, not take it to even higher levels. Mankind cannot survive a nuclear war. Russians will be gone, Americans will be gone, Brits and Chinese and French and all the other peoples of the planet will be gone, because once this Pandora’s Box is broken open by the two of you, there will be no closing it.
President Obama. President Putin. It’s time to be real leaders. It’s time to quit acting like petulant children toward each other and holding the whole world hostage. It’s time to be who you like to think you are.
And Hillary Clinton. I expect you will be the President of the United States in a few months. Everything I have just said will then fall on you, as well. Then I will be saying to you, if we are all still around at that point, it is up to you to be that person you think you are.
How have we reached this point? How have we moved to the edge of a nuclear abyss, with the survival of the race, not to mention the survival of all the other species living on this planet, at risk, and all the billions of us who breathe this air and drink this water and love our children, can do nothing except hope and pray that a handful of ambitious people like yourselves, whom we call our leaders, do not betray us to the ultimate degree because they have petty disputes with each other?
Enough! For decades you have played lip service to the need to rid the world of these abominations! It is time, right now, for those of you who claim to lead, to start by leading us once and for all away from the nightmare of nuclear war. Make your peace. Get rid of the damned weapons. Stop playing with annihilation as if you were Gods. If you set these things off, you are monsters, every single one of you. You yourselves are the abominations.

Barry Wallace