plenty of proof of an authoritarian streak and animus toward democratic
ideals in today’s conservative movement. There was the movement’s use
of its judicial power to halt a vote recount and instead install a president who had lost the popular vote. There is the ongoing GOP effort to make it more difficult for people to cast a vote in an election. There is the GOP’s record use of the Senate filibuster to
kill legislation that the vast majority of the country supports. There
is a GOP leader’s declaration that what the American people want from
their government simply “doesn’t matter.”
until today, you might have been able to write all that anti-democratic
pathology off as one infecting only the Republican Party’s politicians
and institutional leadership, but not its rank-and-file voters. But then
this morning Fairleigh Dickinson University released this gun
control-related pollshowing that authoritarianism runs throughout the
the entire party.
Take a look at the cross-tabs on page 3 of the national survey.
That’s right, you are reading it correctly: Almost half (44 percent) of
all self-described Republican voters say they believe “an armed
revolution might be necessary to protect our liberties.” Just as bad,
more Republicans believe an armed revolution might be necessary than
believe one isn’t necessary.
This poll raises two obvious questions, each more disturbing than the next.
The first question is about gun control and gun ownership, and more specifically, what the latter is all about.
GOP leaders say that their opposition to minimal gun regulations has
nothing to do with helping arm those who want to commit acts of
violence, and everything to do with wanting to make sure people can
defend themselves. Based on the poll, of course, it is certainly likely
that many are buying such weapons in an effort to defend themselves,
both for day-to-day life and in the event of a sudden armed revolution.
But here’s the scary part: How many are buying weapons to arm themselves
in order to foment an
armed revolution? Maybe none, but maybe a lot. I don’t have an answer,
but this poll suggests the question should at least be aired.
other question is about republican democracy: Can it survive in an age
when almost one-half of one of the major parties seems to support the
concept of violently thwarting it?
is war by other means”: That aphorism sums up the democratic theory
undergirding the American idea for two centuries. Though we haven’t
always lived up to that ideal, it is a pretty simple one: A civilized
society should solve disputes through a democratic process and
democratic institutions, rather than through the barrel of a gun. And
while our democracy has been corrupted by Big Money, it still functions
better than autocracy. In that sense, Churchill had it right when he
said “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the
though, almost half of Republicans don’t seem to necessarily see it
that way. According to the Fairleigh Dickinson poll, 44 percent of
rank-and-file Republicans seem to believe that because they aren’t
getting their way through the ballot box, bloodshed may be justified to
impose their will on everyone else. Think of it as sore loser-ism juiced
course, GOP apologists will say that the poll just asked specifically
about armed revolution “to protect liberties,” the idea being that
almost half of Republican voters don’t support using violence to advance
their own political agenda, they only support it in the face of a
future dystopian nightmare whereby the population is terrorized by
police-administered drone bombings and Waco-esque invasions of private
that’s the thing: We can’t be so sure that’s really true when
conservative media voices and politicians are using the broad and
incendiary language they now regularly employ. Today, those voices often
claim that almost everything in the Democratic/liberal agenda — from Obamacare to taxes to environmental regulations to contraception policy — is an assault on “liberty.”
means the poll might indicate something much more significant than
understandable opposition to Big Brother turning our country into
Oceania. It might show us that all the vitriolic language employed by
the right is undermining the most basic nonviolent democratic ideals
that are supposed to define America.
Sirota is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine
journalist and the best-selling author of the books "Hostile Takeover,"
"The Uprising" and "Back to Our Future." E-mail him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at www.davidsirota.com.
The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by
fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears
of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in
pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
ROLAND SAN JUAN was a researcher, management consultant, inventor, a part time radio broadcaster and a publishing director. He died last November 25, 2008 after suffering a stroke. His staff will continue his unfinished work to inform the world of the untold truths. Please read Erick San Juan's articles at: ericksanjuan.blogspot.com This blog is dedicated to the late Max Soliven, a FILIPINO PATRIOT.
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