07.31.2010 0

Beware of Single-Issue Politics

  • On: 08/03/2010 19:54:38
  • In: 2nd Amendment
  • By David Bozeman

    Grassroots conservatives need not always look to the left for the stench emanating from the Washington backrooms where the important people craft legislation beneficial to themselves and the peon classes be damned.

    National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre’s affection for Democrat Harry Reid has made the two quite an item, and fears persist that the NRA itself may well endorse the Senate majority leader over Sharron Angle (herself a strong Second Amendment advocate). Any endorsement would come in the fall, and organization insiders have tried to squelch those rumors, no doubt aware that hundreds, if not thousands, of outraged members would likely bolt.

    Equally troubling, according to a July 26th Fox News report, Democrats, who received roughly 10 percent of NRA contributions in 2002, are now garnering about one quarter. Yes, the same Democrats who are now at one of their historic high points of liberal potency.

    Defenders of the LaPierre-Reid liaison (and they are few and far between) state that the NRA is single-issue oriented and not meant to be a cheerleader for GOP/conservative causes. Furthermore, it pays to curry favor with those who are — and may continue to be — in positions of power.

    LaPierre is reportedly impressed with Reid’s role in a $61 million earmark that includes a shooting range in Clark County, Nevada, Reid’s home state. Through Congress, the NRA also won exclusion from certain campaign finance laws. How inspiring. But the NRA is not alone — at least hundreds of organizations from both sides of the ideological divide donate to candidates in support of their interests.

    But isn’t that the problem? Government power should not be worth so much money. Second Amendment rights, precious as they are, should not be linked in public perception to multi-million dollar shooting ranges.

    Conservatives often lament the Balkanization of America into competing groups based on racial, ethnic and socio-economic status. Yet that is one of the drawbacks to single-issue politics: shared values and national identity can’t compete with the loot glistening in the public till. But sadly, groups and businesses often have to wheel-and-deal for their very survival. Again, government power should not carry that much weight.

    Wayne LaPierre and the NRA boast a proud history of defending the Second Amendment. Other single-issue groups and movements help define the agenda for our national dialogue.

    But let us never allow single issues to dilute or diminish our American identity of self-reliant, freedom-loving individuals. The gun-owners I know value capitalism and limited government almost as dearly as their gun rights and, as patriots, would defend the liberty of their neighbors with the same zeal as their own.

    The trappings of power can corrupt without the consent or knowledge of our civic and elected leaders, but wake up, NRA. Your name is far too noble to link to the tedious, uninspiring career of Harry Reid. No one expects you to rubber-stamp the GOP agenda, but we do expect you to put America first and help send Harry Reid back to Nevada for a well-deserved, permanent exile from power.

    David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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