Monday, August 22, 2016

Trump, Second Amendment, Revolution: Continued

Sometimes this happens: You write a post, publish it, shut the computer down, eat lunch, and realize there's a shorter, better way of saying it.

Let's boil it down:

• Donald Trump's "Second Amendment People" comment seemed to suggest that Hillary Clinton could be assassinated if she appointed judges disliked by Second Amendment advocates.

• My friends Ben and Julie responded by saying that's not necessarily what he meant, but that the right of rebellion is enshrined in the Second Amendment, so whatever.

• And what I was trying to say is: "Who wants your rebellion?"

Here's the thing to consider: We Americans have a rosy, Star Wars view of revolution — good guys versus bad guys, no moral ambiguities to make you feel icky, no weighing of interests to be done. The real world, even our own revolution, didn't work out that way. Lots of perfectly nice, morally upright people were happy to be subjects of the British Empire!

So if the "sovereign people" decided to take arms against Hillary Clinton because she appointed judges deemed likely to curb Second Amendment freedoms a bit, the truth is that they'd be also taking arms against a "sovereign people" who ... voted for Hillary and were perfectly happy to have her appoint those judges.

If Trump's revolution comes, it's not going to be Heroic Defenders of Freedom versus the Evil Tyrant Government. It's going to be some of us versus some of the rest of us. And that's one reason Trump's comment was so annoying and scary to many of us: We understand you Second Amendment folks claim a "right of rebellion" against tyrannical governments. A lot of us, though, will be happy with that government — and not at all happy with the violence you unleash to get your way.

We don't want your rebellion. Not even in musing, dorm-room, theoretical, purely hypothetical fashion.

The right of rebellion is the right to set brother against brother, family against family, neighbor against neighbor. There may be times when it is needed. But the devastation such an event would unleash on society shouldn't be underestimated.

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